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[HERE have been instances in the history of letters 
of men whose life-work was a single volume that 
marked an epoch ; others have written one suc- 
cessful book, and used the reputation it brought 
them to foist upon the public many of a baser 
sort ; but none, other than the singular great man whose life 
and labours we are about to examine, has ever fashioned so 
many notable works, destined to be relegated to comparative 
oblivion by the overshadowing greatness of one among their 
number, one which inaugurated a new era in literature and 
opened a profitable, pleasant field for human labour and 

Before Defoe there existed in English no fiction that painted 
men and manners as they were, and wrote down the folk of its 
own time in their habit as they lived. There were the romances 
of chivalry concerned with the deeds of knights, and dragons, 
and enchanted dames, or the florid and cumbrous narrations of 
the loves of Arcadian shepherds, dispossessed princes, and 
rural swains, full of a quaint affected euphuism, like those of 
Thomas Lodge or Robert Greene. One book of Aphra Behn's, 
that forerunner of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Oroonoko, and the 
immortal Pilgrim's Progress of John Bunyan, had indeed some 
homely human interest in them. But Robinson Crusoe sprang 
full-grown into the field, without precursor and without rival.* 
It was followed by several other great works, in which Defoe's 

* The first edition appeared April 25, 1719; the second seventeen 
days after ; twenty-five days later a third ; and a fourth on August 8. 
It was then published as a serial in the Original London Post, being 
thus the first serial in the language. 


fellows might see themselves as in a true mirror, naught 
exaggerated or distorted. 

Defoe had been dead ten years when Samuel Richardson, 
whom we know to have been an admiring reader of his, put 
torth Pamela (1741). Fielding in Joseph Andrews (1742) 
parodied Pamela, and, having felt his power, followed it with 
Tom Jones (1749). From henceforth the way was open, and it 
has been followed by a mighty train of writers that have added 
a glory to the English tongue unequalled by all else. To 
Defoe belong the undying honours of the pioneer, as well as 
those pertaining to his own unaffected dignity and controlled 

He was, however, not only the first English novelist, and a 
great one. He was the most influential and popular journalist 
and pamphleteer of his time, doing more than all or any of his 
rivals to sway the order of political events. It is marvellous, at 
first sight, that so much smaller men, his contemporaries, should 
be so much better known than he ; but the riddle is read when 
we see how sedulously they puffed one another, while avoiding 
all mention of him or of his work, save by way of malevolent 
attack or slanderous allusion. It is not hard to understand 
this either when it is reflected that Defoe stood alone among 
them, rejecting and despising the French and pseudo-classic 
influences by which they formed themselves a sturdy rebel 
who refused to be bound by their dogmas of style or submit to 
their test of excellence. 

Daniel Defoe was born in the parish of St. Giles's, Cripplegate, 
in 1661 ; the day and month it is impossible to make certain, as 
there is no entry of his baptism in the parish register. His 
father, James Foe,* citizen and butcher of the city of London, 

* Many reasons have been given for Defoe's assumption of the prefix, 
but all apparently without foundation. He was called De Foe years 
before the death of his father, who was Foe to the last. His own 
practice goes to show that it was quite indifferent to him, and was 
perhaps taken to distinguish him from his father in 1703. Before that 
it does not appear ; in 1703 he signs De Foe, and afterward, though 
most often Daniel De Foe, sometimes D. F., D. D. F., or D. Foe. The 
latest signature extant is D. F. 


was prosperous and of good repute ; the little known of him is 
to his credit. Being a dissenter, he was unable to send his son 
to a university, but, in default, put him when about fourteen 
years old with the best schoolmaster then known. This was 
the Rev. Charles Morton, an Oxford man, of varied and deep 
learning, whom Harvard chose for vice-president when he 
subsequently fled over the sea from religious persecution. 
With how much of his encyclopaedic learning Defoe left 
school we cannot now know, but it is certain that he owed 
much to his master, of whom he ever spoke with respect and 

His pre-eminence as an English prose writer for sturdy, pure, 
popular diction and simple manner of expression, equally far 
from the filed smoothness of an Addison or the pedantic 
ungainliness of an Isaac Watts, was to a large extent due to 
the method pursued by his master. He says that at school 
" the master or tutor read all his lectures, gave all his systems, 
whether of philosophy or divinity, in English, and had all his 
declaimings and dissertations in the same tongue. And though 
the scholars were not deficient in the languages,* yet it is 
observed of them, they were by this made masters of the 
English tongue, and more of them excelled in that particular 
than of any school at the time." 

When about nineteen years old Defoe left school, and was 
placed in a hose-factor's office in the city, where he began that 
intimate practical acquaintance with foreign countries and men 
which later stood him in good stead. His eager interest in and 
close examination of political affairs at this time began to mani- 
fest itself. 1683 was a stirring year the year of the Rye House 
Plot, of the execution of Lord Russell and Algernon Sydney, 
of the siege of Vienna, and its rescue by John Sobieski. On 
the one side and the other stood ranged once more the ever- 
present enemies, Revolution and Reaction, Progress and Stag- 
nation the two great impulses that, under ever-changing names 
and forms, array men for the struggle that advances them. 

* Defoe knew Latin, French, Greek, Spanish, and Italian the two 
former perfectly. 


Defoe was of the advance, and was drawn into the combat, his 
first effort being a paper written for and discussed by a 
debating club, but never published. 

Just as Defoe came out of his apprenticeship, and before he 
started in business for himself, occurred the events that led to 
the Monmouth rebellion. Into the fray Defoe flung himself, 
worked and spoke until Monmouth landed, then joined him, 
and worked and fought until the rebellion was broken, when he 
escaped back to London unrecognised, and set up as a whole- 
sale hosier in Freeman's Court, Cornhill, where he continued 
till 1694. 

James issued a declaration of religious tolerance, intended 
to set the Nonconformists at war with the English Church, and 
so make it more easy to overcome the Protestant resistance to 
Papal encroachment. Defoe exposed the trick in his first 
printed production, 1687. This was a single sheet, quarto, 
double columns, no title-page, signature, date, name of printer, 
or place of publication. All concerned in its issue incurred the 
capital penalty if discovered. 

In 1688 he was admitted liveryman of the city of London, 
claiming freedom by birth. His name is entered in the 
Chamberlain's book as Daniel Foe. About this time he was 
living at Tooting, and continued to do so for some years after. 
While living there he founded a chapel. 

The year 1690 saw him bankrupt without doubt from his 
neglect of private affairs while attending to public ones. 
He afterwards, however, paid off all debts to the uttermost 
farthing ; and even his bitterest enemies admit his impec- 
cable honesty. This year he was in Spain, perfecting himself in 
the language. 

In 1694 he was offered a good position in Cadiz, but happily 
declined it. Soon afterwards he became secretary to, and 
ult.mately owner of, some brick and pantile works at Tilbury.* 

* In 1860, when the London, Tilbury, and Southend Railway was 
being completed, the site of these works was uncovered, and when told 
whose they had been, the workmen treasured every scrap of tile or pipe, 
however broken, for the sake of Robinson Crusoe. 


These prospered until 1703, when his imprisonment led to their 
failure, by which he lost .3000. 

From 1694 to 1699 he was Accountant of the Glass Tax, an 
office conferred on him in reward for services rendered William 
by his pamphlet, The Englishman's Choice. In the latter years 
of William's reign Defoe was closely allied with him. At this 
time, and until 1707, he lived at Hackney, where some of his 
children were born. 

1702 opened with Defoe the friend of a king, and the most 
powerful of living writers ; the end of the year found him alone, 
persecuted, proscribed. Under Anne the High Church Tories 
soon unfurled the " bloody flag and banner of defiance," as 
Sacheverell advised, against all not orthodox in politics and 
religion. Their truculent zeal was travestied by Defoe in The 
Shortest Way with the Dissenters, with such verisimilitude that 
the book was at first accepted by them with applause, and 
when they saw how they had been taken in their own net their 
rage was terrible. The author's name was soon known, and a 
State prosecution was set on foot. The London Gazette, 
January loth, 1703, advertises: "Whereas Daniel De Foe, 
alias De Fooe, is charged with writing a scandalous and 
seditious pamphlet, entitled ' The Shortest Way with the 
Dissenters.' He is a middle-sized, spare man, of a brown com- 
plexion, and dark-brown coloured hair, but wears a wig ; a 
hooked nose, a sharp chin, grey eyes, and a large mole near his 
mouth ; was born in London, and for many years was a hose- 
factor in Freeman's Yard, in Cornhill ; and now is owner of the 
brick and pantile works, near Tilbury Fort, in Essex : whoever 
shall discover the said Daniel De Foe to one of Her Majesty's 
principal Secretaries of State, or any of Her Majesty's justices 
of the peace, so he may be apprehended, shall have a reward of 
^50, which Her Majesty has ordered immediately to be paid 
on such discovery." The book was brought before the House 
of Commons on February 25th, and, at their order, burnt next 
day by the common hangman in New Palace Yard. The 
author was in safe hiding, but as vengeance would have been 
wreaked upon the printer and bookseller, to save these he gave 


himself up, was indicted at the Old Bailey, and committed to 
Newgate to await trial in July. He unwisely consented to 
plead guilty, the Government promising him protection if they 
could not secure his acquittal. This promise was, of course, 
violated. As soon as he had pleaded, and was thus prevented 
from justifying himself, the prosecution was pressed with ardour, 
and sentence obtained upon him : That he should pay a fine 
of 200 marks to the Queen ; stand three times in the pillory ; 
be imprisoned during the Queen's pleasure ; and find sureties 
for his good behaviour for seven years. During the interval of 
twenty days between the sentence and its execution, Defoe 
wrote his Hymn to the Pillory, and completed his Shortest 
Way to Peace and Union, both of which were published July 
29, 1703, when he was pilloried before the Royal Exchange, 
in Cornhill ; the next day he was shown near the conduit 
in Cheapside, and on the third day at Temple Bar. His 
enemies had set him on high for a laughing-stock, and found 
him an idol. The people formed a guard around him, crowned 
and garlanded him with flowers, it being summer-time, and 
sang his hymn in chorus around him, repeating with special 
gusto the lines 

"Tell them the Men that placed him here 

Are Scandals to the Times : 
Are at a loss to find his Guilt, 
And can't commit his Crimes.'' 

But his imprisonment ruined him financially, his Tilbury 
works failing through his absence. It was during this imprison- 
ment that Defoe began his famous Review ; during the same 
period he also issued over twenty books and pamphlets, besides 
several new editions and a collection of his works. 

On the intercession of Harley, Anne inquired into Defoe's 
case, and he was released early in August 1704, and at once 
retired to St. Edmund's Bury to avoid the public gaze and 
recruit his health. Not to be idle though, for he issued four 
pamphlets within a month, beside his Reviews. 

In 1714 Defoe was again prosecuted, but nothing came of it. 


He was at this time the mark for a storm of obloquy, his only 
friends and believers being the masses of the people. Under 
this weight he wrote one of the most manly, yet deeply pathetic 
utterances ever made, his Appeal to Honour and Justice^ 
published January 1715. Between the writing (October) and 
the publication of this book his enormous labours and the 
effects of his persecution brought on an attack of apoplexy, 
which he thought for awhile would have been his end. What 
the world would have lost by his dying then may be seen from 
the chronological list of his chief works annexed hereto. Not 
one of the books by which he is now popularly remembered 
was then written. 

After his release in 1704 Defoe's fertile genius and indom- 
itable industry soon recovered him from the mishaps he had then 
met with. In or about 1709 he went to live at Stoke Newington, 
where in 1724 he built himself a house, with near three acres of 
ground attached. His son-in-law, Baker, speaks of his 
" genteel way of living " with his " three lovely daughters." 
It is said of him also that he "kept his coach." But withal he 
was not destined for untroubled happiness ; gout and the 
stone tormented him at intervals, and his ungrateful son gave 
him great anxiety. In 1730 he had once more to flee into 
hiding from the vengeance of a powerful enemy, but by next 
spring was back in London, where he took lodging in his native 
parish. After staying awhile in his lodging in Ropemaker's 
Alley, Moorfields (on the verge of open country then), he there 
died of a lethargy on the 26th of April 1731, in the 7ist year of 
his age, and was buried in Tindall's Burying Ground, now 
known as Bunhill Fields, where his grave may yet be seen. 

It is probable that Defoe would have considered himself a 
satirist more than anything. It is certain that he ranked the 
True-born Englishman above all his other work. It is truly a 
wonderful production, aimed at those who railed at William of 
Orange as a " foreigner." So successful was its biting sarcasm 
and scathing invective that the boastful, sneering phrase it 
bore for title disappeared from use altogether. Many intended 
answers appeared, but none with any measure of success. Nine 


genuine editions appeared in 1701, and many pirated ones ; 
never since printing was invented had so many been sold of one 
book. His satires are, however, the least important of his 
writings. From June 1687 to almost the very week of 
his death a stream of controversial books and pamphlets on 
social and political subjects poured from his pen, commenting 
upon and marking ever)' important passing event. Nor was 
he less fecund as a journalist, founding, helping to found, 
or carry on several papers, besides writing in those established 
by others. On the igth February 1704, Defoe issued from 
Newgate the first number of the greatest venture, perhaps the 
chief work of his life, his Review, having already published 
sixteen pamphlets and books since his imprisonment. The 
Review was intended to deal with affairs at home and abroad ; 
and contained, besides, a " Scandal Club," to discuss moral, 
social, and scientific questions, from which grew the innumer- 
able army of Spectators, Tatlers, and their kind. It was at first 
a weekly, but after the eighth number appeared twice a-week, 
after the eighth number of the second volume thrice a-week. In 
the latter part of the first year the press of matter was so great 
that the " Scandal Club " was made a monthly supplement, and 
on June 6th, 1705, became a separate publication, The Li tile 
Review, appearing every Wednesday and Friday, while the 
Review appeared on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, making 
five issues weekly. Each number consisted of two quarto leaves, 
and was all written by Defoe. The Review lasted to the end of 
July 1712. A new series began on the 2nd of August and ran 
until June nth next year, the last number ending with "Exit 
Review? In more than 5000 printed pages essays on every 
conceivable subject were given, and all by one pen ! Between 
the dates of the first and last numbers of the Review, Defoe 
wrote and published no less than eighty other distinct works, 
containing 4727 pages ! Defoe was far in advance of his age, 
and the running commentary he made for so many years, as 
journalist and pamphleteer, upon passing events is all the more 
strongly interesting. In dignity of tone he is without an equal, 
for not once did he descend to personal abuse, while all his 


rivals indulged in it. He is always clear, logical, direct, writing 
invariably for what he holds for truth, manifesting that highest 
courage of the conscience which disregards danger utterly, 
either to seek or shun it. As a historian he is unequalled for 
the lively verisimilitude with which he invested his narrations. 

His fictions will to-day be held of most importance. These 
began with Robinson Crusoe, when Defoe was already fifty-eight 
years old and had made a monument of great work sufficient to 
commemorate him. After thirty years of constant arduous 
practice in the arts of description and persuasion he bent all 
his gigantic power to the relation of "the life and strange 
surprising adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner." 
In the pure speech of the people, the homely dialect of the 
working folk, he told the story. There was no word that 
could puzzle the meanest artisan, but this common English 
tongue was made adequate to every purpose to which it was 
applied. Hence it is that the sudden success of Robinson 
Crusoe was no mere ephemeral freak of fashion, but has 
endured even unto this day. Edition has followed edition, 
and translation translation, until there is no English-speaking 
person who is unacquainted with the story, and it is known 
and loved in lands and read in tongues of the existence of 
which its author never knew. 

In manner of treatment all Defoe's fictions are alike. The 
story is told for its own sake, and simply, without meretricious 
adornment. A real person was what interested him, and was 
described, and no reasoned-out abstraction or well-trimmed 
man-millinery such as novelists delight in now-a-days. He 
conceived vividly, and wrote as though the scene were passing 
before his eyes. He abode in the concrete, and had a quite 
medieval contempt for analysis and spun-out explanation. The 
close and tenacious grasp of his imagination upon distinct and 
clear conceptions, and the purity of his vehicle, enabled him in a 
few strokes, with apparent carelessness but real art, to present a 
picture that needs no subscription, "This is remorse," or the like. 
It is human existence in its objective reality that he deals with ; 
the characters he takes are flesh and blood, and of no extreme 


type. Even though a thief or harlot may be the immediate 
actor, the reader is made to realise not alone his interest, but 
his participation in the play. He sees before him, in stronger 
form mayhap, or otherwise manifested, the same slow declension 
and self-enfeebling wiles as in himself. Universal man, the 
very central truth of him, Defoe felt, and it is this that makes 
his creations appeal to all men of all times and places and 
tongues. Whether it be the lonely man in Crusoe^ with his 
fears and efforts, his patience and complaining, or the poor boy- 
thief in Colonel Jacque> with his care of sudden wealth, or the 
solitary waterman in the Journal of the Plague, left alone 
among dead neighbours, and toiling for a stricken wife and 
family, their nature is borne in upon us in a concrete, strong 
manner that makes us know them through and through. We 
know them as though we had lived with them for years, not as 
though we had gone over them with scalpel or microscope. 

The work to which this note is prefixed followed Crusoe 
within the year. It has been selected as representative of 
Defoe's style and method, as in itself an interesting story, as 
illustrative of Defoe's geographical knowledge, and as throw- 
ing light upon the sea-life of the time. Those familiar with 
Dampier and Exquemelin know already what this latter was, 
but those to whom these bulky books are inaccessible may 
glean from Singleton some idea of the days when any trader- 
captain or supercargo, sent out by a merchant, knew that he 
would be thought none the worse of did he turn pirate on 
occasion and bring home the product of a prize or two, and 
when those who went permanently " on the account," as they 
called it, even though they might not be received with honour 
as Morgan was, could always, unless caught red-handed, turn 
respectable when rich, and die in the odour of sanctity. The 
trans-African journey is a marvellous piece of work, only to be 
paralleled by Defoe's own New Voyage. It is roughly accurate, 
and, with contemporary maps, shows that the mid-African 
"discoveries" of this century have been almost wholly con- 
firmations of facts already known. There are a few errors of 
distance and position, and the "desert" is gratuitously flung in by 


the way, but it is puerile folly to blame Defoe or his informants 
for slight inaccuracies of detail where the transit of a continent 
is described from memory. Defoe has been called " the most 
English of Englishmen." Those who know his work well know 
how true this is. Even those who only read Singleton's 
narrative in addition to Crusoe will feel something of it. 
For all those to whom kindly humour, strong humanity, and 
healthy upright social feeling are attractive, he cannot fail of 
being an abiding delight. Did the scant limits of this note 
allow, it would be interesting to trace the direct influence of the 
Father of the English novel upon those who succeeded him, and 
also to trace in detail the forces that fashioned him as he was ; 
but the space allows of neither complete record nor searching 
criticism. I can do no more than give a few bare hints of the 
man who did more than any other for English literature, and 
who, at a time when " men of letters " were almost wholly given 
over to rococo triviality or elephantine pseudo-classicism, 
wrought no base metal into the fine gold of his mother-tongue, 
but purified and ennobled that, and made it a fit vehicle for the 
noblest thought. The student who takes Defoe for his guide 
or model can be assured that there are few pitfalls he need fear, 
and that the more clearly he understands his master, learning 
all he has to teach, without blindly following him into error, the 
nearer he is to realising the true genius and real strength of 
the English language. 



1607. *A Letter on H.M. Declaration for Liberty of Conscience. 
1691. *A New Discovery of an Old Intrigue. 
1694. *The Englishman's Choice and True Interest. 
1698. *An Enquiry into occasional Conformity. 

An Essay upon Projects. 

*An Argument shewing that a Standing Army, with consent of 
Parliament, is not inconsistent with a Free Government. 

1701. The True-born Englishman, a satire. 
*Legion's Memorial to the House of Commons. 

*The original power of the collective body of the people of 
England, examined and asserted. 

1702. The Shortest Way with the Dissenters. 

1703. A Hymn to the Pillory. 

1 704. *Giving Alms no Charity. 

1705. Persecution Anatomised. 

1706. An Essay at removing National Prejudices against a Union 

with Scotland. 

A True Relation of the Apparition of one Mrs. Veal. 
Jure Divino, a satire. 

1709. The History of the Union of Great Britain. 

1710. *An Essay on Public Credit. 
*An Essay upon Loans. 

1711. *An Essay upon the South-sea Trade. 

1712. The Present State of Parties in Great Britain. 
1715. An Appeal to Honour and Justice. 

The Family Instructor. 

History of the Wars of Charles XII. 

1717. Memoirs of the Church of Scotland. 
Life and Death of Count Patkul. 

1718. The Family Instructor. 

1719. Robinson Crusoe. 

The Anatomy of Exchange Alley. 

The Dumb Philosopher (Dickory Cronke). 

The King of Pirates (Captain Avery). 

* Marked thus are Pamphlets. 


1720. The History of Mr. Duncan Campbell. 
Memoirs of a Cavalier. 
Captain Singleton. 

1722. Moll Flanders. 
Religious Courtship. 

A Journal of the Plague Year. 

Life of Lewis Dominique Cartouche. 

Colonel Jacque. 

1723. The Highland Rogue (Rob Roy). 
History of Peter the Great. 

1724. The Fortunate Mistress (Roxana). 

A Tour through the whole of Island of Great Britain. 
History of Jno. Sheppard. 

1725. A New Voyage round the World. 
Life and Actions of Jonathan Wild. 
Complete English Tradesman. 

1726. Political History of the Devil. 

A System of Magick, or History of the Black Art. 
History of Discoveries and Improvements in Useful Arts. 

1727. Conjugal Lewdness. 

History and Reality of Apparitions. 

1728. Plan of the English Commerce. 
Street Robberies considered. 

1729. Complete English Gentleman. 

1731 *An effectual Scheme for preventing Street Robberies. 

* Marked thus are Pamphlets. 


George Chalmers. Life. London, 1785. 

Walter Wilson. Memoirs. London, 1830. 

William Chadwick. Life and Times. London, 1859. 

John Forster. Biographical Essays. London, 1860. 

William Lee. Life and Newly Discovered Writings. London, 1869, 

William Minto. In " English Men of Letters " Series. 

Sir Walter Scott. Preface to Bonn's edition of Defoe's Works. 

* Of all these, the best are Forster's and Lee's. 





S it is usual for great persons, whose lives have 
been remarkable, and whose actions deserve 
recording to posterity, to insist much upon 
their originals, give full accounts of their 
families, and the histories of their ancestors ; 
so, that I may be methodical, I shall do the same, though 
I can look but a very little way into my pedigree, as you 
will see presently. 

If I may believe the woman whom I was taught to call 
mother, I was a little boy, of about two years old, very well 
dressed, had a nursery-maid to attend me, who took me out 
on a fine summer's evening into the fields towards Islington, 
as she pretended, to give the child some air ; a little girl 
being with her, of twelve or fourteen years old, that lived 
in the neighbourhood. The maid, whether by appointment 
or otherwise, meets with a fellow, her sweetheart, as I sup- 
pose ; he carries her into a public-house to give her a pot 
and a cake ; and while they were toying in the house, the 


girl plays about, with me in her hand, in the garden and at 
the door, sometimes in sight, sometimes out of sight, 
thinking no harm. 

At this juncture comes by one of those sort of people who, 
it seems, made it their business to spirit away little children. 
This was a hellish trade in those days, and chiefly practised 
where they found little children very well dressed, or for 
bigger children, to sell them to the plantations. 

The woman, pretending to take me up in her arms and 
kiss me, and play with me, draws the girl a good way from 
the house, till at last she makes a fine story to the girl, and 
bids her go back to the maid, and tell her where she was 
with the child ; that a gentlewoman had taken a fancy to the 
child, and was kissing of it, but she should not be frightened, 
or to that purpose ; for they were but just there ; and so, 
while the girl went, she carried me quite away. 

From this time, it seems, I was disposed of to a beggar 
woman that wanted a pretty little child to set out her case ; 
and, after that, to a gipsey, under whose government I 
continued till I was about six years old ; and this woman, 
though I was continually dragged about with her from one 
part of the country to another, yet never let me want for 
anything; and I called her mother, though she told me at 
last she was not my mother, but that she bought me for 
twelve shillings of another woman, who told her how she 
came by me, and told her that my name was Bob Singleton, 
not Robert, but plain Bob ; for it seems they never knew 
by what name I was christened. 

It is in vain to reflect here what a terrible fright the 
careless hussy was in that lost me ; what treatment she 
received from rny justly-enraged father and mother, and the 
horror these must be in at the thoughts of their child being 
thus carried away ; for, as I never knew anything of the 


matter, but just what I have related, nor who my father 
and mother were, so it would make but a needless digression 
to talk of it here. 

My good gipsey mother, for some of her worthy actions 
no doubt, happened in process of time to be hanged ; and, 
as this fell out something too soon for me to be perfected in 
the strolling trade, the parish where I was left, which, for 
my life, I cannot remember, took some care of me to be 
sure ; for the first thing I can remember of myself afterwards 
was, that I went to a parish school, and the minister of the 
parish used to talk to me to be a good boy ; and that, 
though I was but a poor boy, if I minded my book, and 
served God, I might make a good man. 

I believe I was frequently removed from one town to 
another, perhaps as the parishes disputed my supposed 
mother's last settlement. Whether I was so shifted by 
passes, or otherwise, I know not ; but the town where I was 
last kept, whatever its name was, must not be far off from 
the sea-side ; for a master of a ship, who took a fancy to me, 
was the first that brought me to a place not far from South- 
ampton, which I afterwards knew to be Bussleton ; and there 
I attended the carpenters, and such people as were employed 
in building a ship for him ; and when it was done, though I 
was not above twelve years old, he carried me to sea with 
him, on a voyage to Newfoundland. 

I lived well enough, and pleased my master so well, that 
he called me his own boy, and I would have called him 
father, but he would not allow it, for he had children of his 
own. I went three or four voyages with him, and grew a 
sturdy boy, when, coming home again from the banks of 
Newfoundland, we were taken by an Algerine rover, or man- 
of-war : which, if my account stands right, was about the 
year 1695, for you may be sure I kept no journal. 


I was not much concerned at the disaster, though I saw 
my master, after having been wounded by a splinter in the 
head during the engagement, very barbarously used by the 
Turks ; I say, I was not much concerned, till, upon some 
unlucky thing I said, which, as I remember, was about 
abusing my master, they took me and beat me most un- 
mercifully with a flat stick on the soles of my feet, so that I 
could neither go or stand for several days together. 

But my good fortune was my friend upon this occasion ; 
for, as they were sailing away with our ship in tow as a 
prize, steering for the straits, and in sight of the bay 
of Cadiz, the Turkish rover was attacked by two great 
Portuguese men-of-war, and taken and carried into Lisbon. 

As I was not much concerned at my captivity, not indeed 
understanding the consequences of it, if it had continued ; 
so I was not suitably sensible of my deliverance : nor indeed 
was it so much a deliverance to me as it would otherwise 
have been : for my master, who was the only friend I had in 
the world, died at Lisbon of his wounds ; and I being then 
almost reduced to my primitive state viz., of starving hi.d 
this addition to it, that it was in a foreign country too, where 
I knew nobody, and could not speak a word of their 
language. However, I fared better here than I had reason 
to expect ; for, when all the rest of our men had their 
liberty to go where they would, I, that knew not" whither to 
go, stayed in the ship for several days, till at length one of 
the lieutenants seeing me, inquired what that young English 
dog did there, and why they did not turn him on shore. 

I heard him, and partly understood what he meant, 
though not what he said, and began then to be in a terrible 
fright ; for I knew not where to get a bit of bread ; when 
the pilot of the ship, an old seaman, seeing me look very 
dull, came to me, and speaking broken English to me, told 


me, I must be gone. "Whither must I go?" said I. 
" Where you will,' J said he ; "home to your own country, if 
you will." "How must I go thither?" said I. "Why, 
have you no friend ?" said he. " No," said I, "not in the 
world, but that dog," pointing to the ship's dog (who, having 
stolen a piece of meat, just before, had brought it close by 
me, and I had taken it from him, and eaten it), " for he has 
been a good friend, and brought me my dinner." 

"Well, well," says he, "you must have your dinner: 
will you go -with me?" "Yes," says I, "with all my 
heart." In short, the old pilot took me home with him, and 
used me tolerably well, though I fared hard enough ; and I 
lived with him about two years, during which time he was 
soliciting his business, and at length got to be master or 
pilot under Don Garcia de Pimentesia de Carravallas, cap- 
tain of a Portuguese galleon,* or carrack,* which was bound 
to Goa, in the East Indies ; and immediately having gotten 
his commission, put me on board to look after his cabin, in 
which he had stored himself with abundance of liquors, suc- 
cades, sugar, spices, and other things for his accommodation 
in the voyage, and laid in afterwards a considerable quantity 
of European goods, fine lace, and linen ; and also baize, 
woollen cloth, stuffs, etc., under the pretence of his clothes. 

I was too young in the trade to keep any journal of this 
voyage, though my master, who was, for a Portuguese, a 
pretty good artist, prompted me to it : but my not under- 
standing the language was one hindrance ; at least, it served 
me for an excuse. However, after some time, I began to 
look into his charts and books ; and, as I could write a 
tolerable hand, understood some Latin, and began to have 

* Names given by the Spanish and Portuguese to the vessels they 
sent to the Brazils and East Indies ; large, round built, and fitted for 
fight as well as burden. 


a smattering of the Portuguese tongue, so I began to get a 
little superficial knowledge of navigation, but not such as 
was likely to be sufficient to carry me through a life of 
adventure, as mine was to be. In short, I learned several 
material things in this voyage among the Portuguese ; I 
learnt particularly to be an arrant thief and a bad sailor ; 
and I think I may say they are the best masters, for 
teaching both these, of any nation in the world. 

We made our way for the East Indies, by the coast of 
Brazil ; not that it is in the course of sailing the way 
thither ; but our captain, either on his own account, or by 
the direction of the merchants, went thither first, where at 
All Saints' bay, or, as they call it in Portugal, the Rio de 
Todos los Santos, we delivered near a hundred tons of 
goods, and took in a considerable quantity of gold, with 
some chests of sugar, and seventy or eighty great rolls of 
tobacco, every roll weighing at least a hundredweight. 

Here, being lodged on shore by my master's order, I 
had the charge of the captain's business, he having seen me 
very diligent for my own master ; and in requital for his 
mistaken confidence, I found means to secure, that is to 
say, to steal, about twenty moidores* out of the gold that 
was shipped on board by the merchants, and this was my 
first adventure. 

We had a tolerable voyage from hence to the Cape de 
Bona Speranza ; and I was reputed as a mighty diligent 
servant to my master, and very faithful (I was diligent 
indeed, but I was very far from honest ; however, they 
thought me honest, which, by the way, was their very great 
mistake) ; upon this very mistake the captain took a par- 
ticular liking to me, and employed me frequently on his 
own occasions ; and, on the other hand, in recompence for 
* Equal to about ,150 now. 


my officious diligence, I received several particular favours 
from him ; particularly I was, by the captain's command, 
made a kind of a steward under the ship's steward, for such 
provisions as the captain demanded for his own table : he 
had another steward for his private stores besides, but my 
office concerned only what the captain called for of the 
ship's stores, for his private use. 

However, by this means I had opportunity particularly 
to take care of my master's man, and to furnish myself with 
sufficient provisions to make me live much better than the 
other people in the ship ; for the captain seldom ordered 
anything out of the ship's stores, as above, but I snipt some 
of it for my own share. We arrived at Goa, in the East 
Indies, in about seven months, from Lisbon, and remained 
there eight more ; during which time I had indeed nothing 
to do, my master being generally on shore, but to learn 
everything that is wicked among the Portugese, a nation 
the most perfidious and the most debauched, the most inso- 
lent and cruel, of any that pretend to call themselves 
Christians, in the world. 

Thieving, lying, swearing, forswearing, joined to the 
most abominable lewdness, was the stated practice of the 
ship's crew ; adding to it, that, with the most unsufFerable 
boasts of their own courage, they were, generally speaking, 
the most complete cowards that I ever met with ; and the 
consequence of their cowardice was evident upon many 
occasions. However, there was here and there one among 
them that was not so bad as the rest ; and, as my lot fell 
among them, it made me have the most contemptible 
thoughts of the rest, as indeed they deserved. 

I was exactly fitted for their society, indeed ; for I had 
no sense of virtue or religion upon me. I had never heard 
much of either, except what a good old parson had said to 


me when I was a child of about eight or nine years old ; 
nay, I was preparing, and growing up apace, to be as wicked 
as any body could be, or perhaps ever was. Fate certainly 
thus directed my beginning, knowing that I had work to do 
in the world, which nothing but one hardened against all 
sense of honesty or religion could go through ; and yet, 
even in this state of original wickedness, I entertained 
such a settled abhorrence of the abandoned vileness 
of the Portuguese, that I could not but hate them most 
heartily from the beginning, and all my life afterwards. 
They were so brutishly wicked, so base and perfidious, not 
only to strangers, but to one another ; so meanly submissive 
when subjected ; so insolent, or barbarous and tyrannical, 
when superior, that I thought there was something in them 
that shocked my very nature. Add to this, that it is natural 
to an Englishman to hate a coward, it all joined together to 
make the devil and a Portuguese equally my aversion. 

However, according to the English proverb, " He that is 
shipped with the devil must sail with the devil ; " I was 
among them, and I managed myself as well as I could. 
My master had consented that I should assist the captain in 
the office, as above ; but, as I understood afterwards, that 
the captain allowed my master half a moidore a month for 
my service, and that he had my name upon the ship's books 
also, I expected that, when the ship came to be paid four 
months' wages at the Indies, as they, it seems, always do, 
my master would let me have something for myself. 

But I was wrong in my man, for he was none of that 
kind : he had taken me up as in distress, and his business 
was to keep me so, and make his market of me as well as 
he could; which I began to think of after a different 
manner than I did at first ; for at first I thought he had 
entertained me in mere charity, upon seeing my distressed 


circumstances, but did not doubt, but when he put me on 
board the ship, I should have some wages for my service. 

But he thought, it seems, quite otherwise ; and, when I 
procured one to speak to him about it, when the ship was 
paid at Goa, he flew into the greatest rage imaginable, and 
called me English dog, young heretic, and threatened to put 
me into the inquisition. Indeed, of all the names the four 
and twenty letters could make up, he should not have called 
me heretic ; for, as I knew nothing about religion, neither 
protestant from papist, or either of them from a Mahometan, 
I could never be a heretic. However, it passed but a little, 
but, as young as I was, I had been carried into the inquisi- 
tion ; and, there, if they had asked me if I was a protestant 
or a catholic, I should have said yes to that which came 
first. If it had been the protestant they had asked first, it 
had certainly made a martyr of me for I did not know 

But the very priest they carried with them, or chaplain of 
the ship, as we call him, saved me : for, seeing me a boy 
entirely ignorant of religion, and ready to do or say anything 
they bid me, he asked me some questions about it, which he 
found I answered so very simply, that he took it upon him 
to tell them, he would answer for my being a good catholic ; 
and he hoped he should be the means of saving my soul ; and 
he pleased himself that it was to be a work of merit to him ; 
so he made me as good a papist as any of them in about a 
week's time. 

I then told him my case about my master ; how, it is true, 
he had taken me up in a miserable case, on board a man-of- 
war, at Lisbon ; and I was indebted to him for bringing me 
on board this ship; that, if I had been left at Lisbon, I 
might have starved and the like ; and therefore I was willing 
to serve him ; but that I hoped he would give me some little 


consideration for my service, or let me know how long he 
expected I should serve him for nothing. 

It was all one ; neither the priest or any one else could 
prevail with him, but that I was not his servant but his slave ; 
that he took me in the Algerine ; and that I was a Turk ; 
only pretended to be an English boy, to get my liberty; 
and he would carry me to the inquisition as a Turk. 

This frightened me out of my wits ; for I had nobody to 
vouch for me what I was, or from whence I came ; but the 
good Padre Antonio, for that was his name, cleared me of 
that part by a way I did not understand : for he came to me 
one morning with, two sailors, and told me they must 
search me, to bear witness that I was not a Turk. I was 
amazed at them, and frightened ; and did not understand 
them ; nor could I imagine what they intended to do to 
me. However, stripping me, they were soon satisfied ; and 
father Anthony bade me be easy, for they could all witness 
that I was no Turk. So I escaped that part of my master's 

And now I resolved from that time to run away from 
him if I could ; but there was no doing of it there ; for 
there were not ships of any nation in the world, in that 
port; except two or three Persian vessels from Ormus ; so 
that, if I had offered to go away from him, he would have 
had me seized on shore, and brought on board by force : 
so that I had no remedy but patience, and this he brought 
to an end too as soon as he could ; for after this he began 
to use me ill, and not only to straiten my provisions, but to 
beat and torture me in a barbarous manner for every 
trifle ; so that, in a word, my life began to be very 

The violence of this usage of me, and the impossibility of 
my escape from his hands, set my head a working upon all 


sorts of mischief; and, in particular, I resolved, after 
studying all other ways to deliver myself, and finding all 
ineffectual, I say, I resolved to murder him. With this 
hellish resolution in my head, I spent whole nights and 
days contriving how to put it in execution, the devil 
prompting me very warmly to the fact. I was indeed 
entirely at a loss for the means ; for I had neither gun or 
sword, nor any weapon to assault him with. Poison I had 
my thoughts much upon, but knew not where to get any ; 
or, if I might have got it, I did not know the country word 
for it, or by what name to ask for it. 

In this manner I was guilty of the fact intentionally a 
hundred and a hundred times ; but Providence, either for 
his sake or for mine, always frustrated my designs, and I 
could never bring it to pass : so I was obliged to continue 
in his chains till the ship, having taken in her loading, set 
sail for Portugal. 

I can say nothing here to the manner of our voyage ; for, 
as I said, I kept no journal ; but this I can give an account 
of, that, having been once as high as the Cape of Good 
Hope, as we call it, or Cabo de Bona Speranza, as they call 
it, we were driven back again by a violent storm from the 
W.S.W., which held us, six days and nights, a great way to 
the eastward ; and after that running afore the wind for 
several days more, we at last came to an anchor on the 
coast of Madagascar. 

The storm had been so violent that the ship had received 
a great deal of damage, and it required some time to repair 
her ; so, standing in nearer the shore, the pilot, my master, 
brought the ship into a very good road, where we rid in 
twenty-six fathom water, about half-a-mile from the shore. 

While the ship rode here, there happened a most des- 
perate mutiny among the men, upon account of some 


deficiency in their allowance, which came to that height 
that they threatened the captain to set him on shore, and 
go back with the ship to Goa. I wished they would with 
all my heart, for I was full of mischief in my head, and 
ready enough to do any. So, though I was but a boy, as 
they called me, yet I prompted the mischief all I could, 
and embarked in it so openly that I escaped very little 
being hanged in the first and most early part of my life ; 
for the captain had some notice that there was a design 
laid by some of the company to murder him ; and having, 
partly by money and promises, and partly by threatening 
and torture, brought two fellows to confess the particulars 
and the names of the persons concerned, they were pre- 
sently apprehended, till, one accusing another, no less 
than sixteen men were seized and put into irons, whereof I 
was one. 

The captain, who was made desperate by his danger, 
resolving to clear the ship of his enemies, tried us all, and 
we were all condemned to die. The manner of his process 
I was too young to take notice of; but the purser and one 
of the gunners were hanged immediately, and I expected it 
with the rest. I do not remember any great concern I was 
under about it, only that I cried very much ; for I knew 
little then of this world, and nothing at all of the next. 

However, the captain contented himself with executing 
these two ; and some of the rest, upon their humble sub- 
mission, and promise of future good behaviour, were par- 
doned ; but five were ordered to be set on shore on the 
island, and left there, of which I was one. My master used 
all his interest with the captain to have me excused, but 
could not obtain it ; for somebody having told him that I 
was one of them who was singled out to have killed him, 
when my master desired I might not be set on shore, the 


captain told him I should stay on board if he desired it, 
but then I should be hanged ; so he might choose for me 
which he thought best. The captain, it seems, was particu- 
larly provoked at my being concerned in the treachery, 
because of his having been so kind to me, and of his 
having singled me out to serve him, as I have said 
above ; and this perhaps obliged him to give my master 
such a rough choice, either to set me on shore or to 
have me hanged on board; and had my master indeed 
known what good-will I had for him, he would not 
have been long in choosing for me ; for I had certainly 
determined to do him a mischief the first opportunity 
I had for it. This was, therefore, a good providence for 
me, to keep me from dipping my hands in blood, and it 
made me more tender afterwards in matters of blood than I 
believe I should otherwise have been. But as to my being 
one of them that was to kill the captain, that I was wronged 
in, for I was not the person ; but it was really one of them 
that were pardoned, he having the good luck not to have 
that part discovered. 

I was now to enter upon a part of independent life a 
thing I was indeed very ill prepared to manage ; for I was 
perfectly loose and dissolute in my behaviour, bold and 
wicked while I was under government, and now perfectly 
unfit to be trusted with liberty ; for I was as ripe for any 
villany as a young fellow that had no solid thought ever 
placed in his mind could be supposed to be. Education, 
as you have heard, I had none ; and all the little scenes of 
life I had passed through had been full of dangers and 
desperate circumstances ; but I was either so young or so 
stupid, that I escaped the grief and anxiety of them, for 
want of having a sense of their tendency and consequences. 

This thoughtless, unconcerned temper had one felicity 


indeed in it that it made me daring and ready for doing 
any mischief, and kept off the sorrow which otherwise 
ought to have attended me when I fell into any mischief ; 
that this stupidity was instead of a happiness to me, for it 
left my thoughts free to act upon means of escape and 
deliverance in my distress, however great it might be ; 
whereas my companions in the distress were so sunk by 
their fear and grief that they abandoned themselves to the 
misery of their condition, and gave over all thought but of 
their perishing and starving, being devoured by wild beasts, 
murdered, and perhaps eaten by cannibals, and the like. 

I was but a young fellow about seventeen or eighteen ; 
but hearing what was to be my fate, I received it with no 
appearance of discouragement ; but I asked what my 
master said to it, and being told that he had used his 
utmost interest to save me, but the captain had answered I 
should either go on shore or be hanged on board, which he 
pleased. I then gave over all hope of being received again. 
I was not very thankful in my thoughts to my master for his 
soliciting the captain for me, because I knew that what he 
did was not in kindness to me so much as in kindness to 
himself ; I mean to preserve the wages which he got for me, 
which amounted to about six dollars a month, including 
what the captain allowed him for my particular service to 

When I understood that my master was so apparently 
kind, I asked if I might not be admitted to speak with him, 
and they told me I might, if my master would come down 
to me, but I could not be allowed to come up to him ; so 
then I desired my master might be told to come to me, and 
he accordingly came to me ; I fell on my knees to him, 
and begged he would forgive me what I had done to 
displease him ; and indeed the resolution I had taken to 


murder him lay with some horror upon my mind just at 
that time, so that I was once just a-going to confess it, and 
beg him to forgive me, but I kept it in : he said he had 
done all he could to obtain my pardon of the captain, but 
could not : and he knew no way for me but to have 
patience, and submit to my fate ; and if they came to speak 
with any ship of their nation at the Cape, he would 
endeavour to have them stand in, and fetch us off again if 
we might be found. 

Then I begged I might have my clothes on shore with 
me. He told me he was afraid I should have little need of 
clothes, for he did not see how we could long subsist on the 
island, and that he had been informed that the inhabitants 
were cannibals or men-eaters (though he had no reason for 
that suggestion), and we should not be able to live among 
them ; I told him I was not so afraid of that as I was of 
starving for want of victuals ; and as for the inhabitants 
being cannibals, I believed we should be more likely to eat 
them, than they us, if we could but get at them : but I was 
mightily concerned, I said, we should have no weapons 
with us to defend ourselves, and I begged nothing now, but 
that he would give me a gun and a sword, with a little powder 
and shot. 

He smiled ; and said, they would signify nothing to us, 
for it was impossible for us to pretend to preserve our lives 
among such a populous and desperate nation as the people 
of the island were. I told him that, however, it would do 
us this good, for we should not be devoured or destroyed 
immediately ; so I begged hard for the gun. At last he 
told me, he did not know whether the captain would give 
him leave to give me a gun, and if not, he durst not do it ; 
but he promised to use his interest to obtain it for me, 
which he did, and the next day he sent me a gun, with 


some ammunition, but told me the captain would not suffer 
the ammunition to be given us till we were set all on shore, 
and till he was just going to set sail He also sent me the 
few clothes I had in the ship, which indeed were not many. 

Two days after this we were all carried on shore together ; 
the rest of my fellow-criminals hearing I had a gun and 
some powder and shot, solicited for liberty to carry the like 
with them, which was also granted them ; and thus we were 
set on shore to shift for ourselves. 

At our first coming into the island, we were terrified 
exceedingly with the sight of the barbarous people ; whose 
figure was made more terrible to us than really it was, by 
the report we had of them from the seamen ; but when we 
came to converse with them awhile, we found they were not 
cannibals, as was reported, or such as would fall immediately 
upon us and eat us up : but they came and sat down by us, 
and wondered much at our clothes and arms, and made 
signs to give us some victuals, such as they had, which was 
only roots and plants dug out of the ground, for the present, 
but they brought us fowls and flesh afterwards, in good 

This encouraged the other four men that were with me 
very much, for they were quite dejected before ; but now 
they began to be very familiar with them, and made signs, 
that if they would use us kindly, we would stay and live 
with them ; which they seemed glad of, though they knew 
little of the necessity we were under to do so, or how much 
\, e were afraid of them. 

However, upon other thoughts, we resolved that we would 
only stay in that part so long as the ship rid in the bay, and 
then, making them believe we were gone with the ship, we 
would go and place ourselves, if possible, where there were 
no inhabitants to be seen, and so live as we could, or 


perhaps watch for a ship that might be driven upon the 
coast, as we were. 

The ship continued a fortnight in the roads repairing 
some damage which had been done her in the late storm, 
and taking in wood and water ; and during this time the 
boat coming often on shore, the men brought us several 
refreshments, and the natives believing we only belonged to 
the ship, were civil enough. We lived in a kind of a tent on 
the shore, or rather a hut, which we made with the boughs 
of trees, and sometimes in the night retired to a wood a 
little out of their way, to let them think we were gone on 
board the ship. However, we found them barbarous, 
treacherous, and villanous enough in their nature, only civil 
for fear, and therefore concluded we should soon fall into 
their hands when the ship was gone. 

The sense of this wrought upon my fellow-sufferers even 
to distraction ; and one of them, being a carpenter, in his 
mad fit, swam off to the ship in the night, though she lay 
then a league to sea, and made such pitiful moan to be taken 
in, that the captain was prevailed with at last to take him 
in, though they let him lie swimming three hours in the 
water before he consented to it. 

Upon this, and his humble submission, the captain re- 
ceived him, and, in a word, the importunity of this man 
(who for some time petitioned to be taken in, though they 
hanged him as soon as they had him), was such as could not ' 
be resisted ; for, after he had swam so long about the ship, 
he was not able to have reached the shore again ; and the 
captain saw evidently that the man must be taken on board, 
or suffered to drown, and the whole ship's company offering 
to be bound for him for his good behaviour, the captain at 
last yielded, and he was taken up, but almost dead with his 
being so long in the water. 



When this man was got in, he never left off importuning 
the captain, and all the rest of the officers, in behalf of us 
that were behind ; but to the very last day the captain was 
inexorable ; when, at the time their preparations were 
making to sail, and orders given to hoist the boats into the 
ship, all the seamen in a body came up to the rail of the 
quarter-deck, where the captain was walking with some of 
his officers, and appointing the boatswain to speak for them, 
he went up, and falling on his knees to the captain, begged 
of him, in the humblest manner possible, to receive the four 
men on board again, offering to answer for their fidelity, or 
to have them kept in chains till they came to Lisbon, and 
there to be delivered up to justice, rather than, as they said, 
to have them left to be murdered by savages, or devoured 
by wild beasts. It was a great while ere the captain took 
any notice of them, but when he did, he ordered the boat- 
swain to be seized, and threatened to bring him to the 
capstan for speaking for them. 


UPON this severity, one of the seamen, bolder than the rest, 
but still with all possible respect to the captain, besought his 
honour, as he called him, that he would give leave to some 
more of them to go on shore, and die with their companions, 
or, if possible, to assist them to resist the barbarians. The 
captain, rather provoked than cowed with this, came to 
the barricade of the quarter-deck, and speaking very pru- 
dently to the men (for, had he spoken roughly, two-thirds of 
them would have left the ship, if not all of them), he told 
them, it was for their safety as well as his own that he had 
been obliged to that severity ; that mutiny on board a ship 


was the same thing as treason in the king's palace, and he 
could not answer it to his owners and employers to trust the 
ship and goods committed to his charge with men who had 
entertained thoughts of the worst and blackest nature ; that 
he wished heartily that it had been anywhere else that they 
had been set on shore, where they might have been in less 
hazard from the savages; that, if he had designed they 
should be destroyed, he could as well have executed them on 
board as the other two ; that he wished it had been in some 
other part of the world, where he might have delivered them 
up to the civil justice, or might have left them among Chris- 
tians ; but that it was better their lives were put in hazard, 
than his life, and the safety of the ship ; and that, though he 
did not know that he had deserved so ill of any of them, as 
that they should leave the ship rather than do their duty, yet 
if any of them were resolved to do so, unless he would con- 
sent to take a gang of traitors on board, who, as he had 
proved before them all, had conspired to murder him, he 
would not hinder them, nor, for the present, would he resent 
their importunity ; but, if there was nobody left in the ship 
but himself, he would never consent to take them on board. 

This discourse was delivered so well, was in itself so 
reasonable, was managed with so much temper, yet so 
boldly concluded with a negative, that the greatest part of 
the men were satisfied for the present : however, as it put 
the men into juntos and cabals, they were not composed 
for some hours ; the wind also slackening towards night, 
the captain ordered not to weigh till next morning. 

The same night twenty-three of the men, among whom 
was the gunner's mate, the surgeon's assistant, and two 
carpenters, applying to the chief mate, told him that, as the 
captain had given them leave to go on shore to their com- 
rades, they begged that he would speak to the captain not 


to take it ill that they were desirous to go and die with 
their companions ; and that they thought they could do no 
less in such an extremity, than go to them ; because, if 
there was any way to save their lives, it was by adding to 
their numbers, and making them strong enough to assist 
one another in defending themselves against the savages, till 
perhaps they might one time or other find means to make 
their escape, and get to their own country again. 

The mate told them in so many words, that he durst not 
speak to the captain upon any such design, and was very 
sorry they had no more respect for him, than to desire him 
to go upon such an errand ; but, if they were resolved upon 
such an enterprise, he would advise them to take the long- 
boat in the morning betimes, and go off, seeing the captain 
had given them leave, and leave a civil letter behind them 
to the captain, and to desire him to send his men on shore 
for the boat, which should be delivered very honestly, and 
he promised to keep their counsel so long. 

Accordingly, an hour before day, those twenty-three men, 
with every man a firelock and cutlass, with some pistols, 
three halberts or half-pikes,* and good store of powder and 
ball, without any provision but about half a hundred of bread, 
but with all their chests and clothes, tools, instruments, books, 
etc., embarked themselves so silently, that the captain got no 
notice of it till they were gotten half the way on shore. 

As soon as the captain heard of it, he called for the 
gunner's mate, the chief gunner being at that time sick in 
his cabin, and ordered to fire at them ; but, to his great 
mortification, the gunner's mate was one of the number, and 
was gone with them ; and, indeed, it was by this means they 
got so many arms and so much ammunition. When the 
captain found how it was, and that there was no help for it, 

* I.e., boarding-pike, an iron spike fixed on a short ashen shaft. 


he began to be a little appeased, made light of it, and called 
up the men, spoke kindly to them, and told them he was 
very well satisfied in the fidelity and ability of those that 
were now left ; and that he would give to them, for their 
encouragement, to be divided among them, the wages which 
were due to the men that were gone; and that it was a great 
satisfaction to him that the ship was freed from such a mutin- 
ous rabble, who had not the least reason for their discontent. 
The men seemed very well satisfied, and particularly the 
promise of the wages of those that were gone went a great 
way with them. After this the letter which was left by the 
men was given to the captain, by his boy, with whom, it 
seems, the men had left it. The letter was much to the 
same purpose of what they had said to the mate, and which 
he declined to say for them ; only that at the end of their 
letter they told the captain, that as they had no dishonest 
design, so they had taken nothing away with them which 
was not their own, except some arms and ammunition, such 
as were absolutely necessary to them, as well for their 
defence against the savages as to kill fowls or beasts for 
their food, that they might not perish; and as there were 
considerable sums due to them for wages, they hoped he 
would allow the arms and ammunition upon their accounts. 
They told him, that as to the ship's long-boat, which they 
had taken to bring them on shore, they knew it was necessary 
to him, and they were willing to restore it to him ; and, if 
he pleased to send for it, it should be very honestly 
delivered to his men, and not the least injury offered to any 
of those who came for it, nor the least persuasion or invita- 
tion made use of to any of them to stay with them ; and, at 
the bottom of the letter, they very humbly besought him, 
that, for their defence, and for the safety of their lives, he 
would be pleased to send them a barrel of powder, and some 


ammunition, and give them leave to keep the mast and sail 
of the boat, that if it was possible for them to make them- 
selves a boat of any kind, they might shift off to sea, to save 
themselves in such part of the world as their fate should 
direct them to. 

Upon this the captain, who had won much upon the rest 
of his men by what he had said to them, and was very easy 
as to the general peace (for it was very true, that the most 
mutinous of the men were gone), came out to the quarter- 
deck, and, calling the men together, let them know the 
substance of the letter ; and told the men, that however 
they had not deserved such civility from him, yet he was not 
willing to expose them more than they were willing to 
expose themselves; he was inclined to send them some 
ammunition ; and, as they had desired but one barrel of 
powder, he would send them two barrels, and shot, or lead, 
and moulds to make shot, in proportion ; and to let them 
see that he was civiller to them than they deserved, he 
ordered a cask of arrack,* and a great bag of bread, to be 
sent them for subsistence, till they should be able to furnish 

The rest of the men applauded the captain's generosity, 
and everyone of them sent us something or other; and 
about three in the afternoon the pinnace came on shore, 
and brought us all these things, which we were very glad of, 
and returned the long-boat accordingly ; and as to the men 
that came with the pinnace, as the captain had singled out 
such men as he knew would not come over to us, so they 
had positive orders not to bring any one of us on board again, 
upon pain of death ; and indeed both were so true to our 
points, that we neither asked them to stay, nor they us to go. 

* Used for any coarse ardent liquor, but perhaps Turkey arrack, 
made from vine stalks and grape-skins taken out of wine-presses. 


We were now a good troop, being in all twenty-seven 
men, very well armed, and provided with everything but 
victuals ; we had two carpenters among us, a gunner, and, 
which was worth all the rest, a surgeon or doctor that is to 
say, he was an assistant to a surgeon at Goa, and was 
entertained as a supernumerary with us. The carpenters 
had brought all their tools, the doctor all his instruments 
and medicines, and indeed we had a great deal of baggage 
that is to say, in the whole, for some of us had little more 
than the clothes on our backs, of whom I was one; but I 
had one thing which none of them had viz., I had the 
twenty-two moidores of gold, which I stole at the Brazils, 
and two pieces of eight.* The two pieces of eight t I 
showed, and one moidore, but no more ; and none of them 
ever suspected that I had any more money in the world, 
having been known to be only a poor boy taken up in 
charity, as you have heard, and used like a slave, and 
in the worst manner of a slave, by my cruel master, the 

It will be easy to imagine we four, that were left at first, 
were joyful, nay, even surprised with joy, at the coming of 
the rest, though at first we were frightened, and thought 
they came to fetch us back to hang us ; but they took ways 
quickly to satisfy us that they were in the same condition 
with us, only with this additional circumstance, that theirs 
was voluntary, and ours by force. 

The first piece of news they told us after the short history 
of their coming away, was, that our companion was on 
board, but how he got thither we could not imagine ; for he 
had given us the slip, and we never imagined he could swim 
so well as to venture off to the ship, which lay at so great a 
distance ; nay, we did not so much as know that he could 

* Twenty before (see page 6). t Equal to about 245. now. 


swim at all, and not thinking anything of what really hap- 
pened, \ve thought he really must have wandered into the 
woods, and was devoured, or was fallen into the hands of 
the natives, and was murdered ; and these thoughts filled us 
with fears enough, and of several kinds, about its being some 
time or other our lot to fall into their hands also. 

But hearing how he had with much difficulty been 
received on board the ship again, and pardoned, we were 
much better satisfied than before. 

Being now, as I have said, a considerable number of us, 
and in condition to defend ourselves, the first thing we did 
was to give everyone his hand, that we would not separate 
from one another upon any occasion whatsoever, but that 
we would live and die together ; that we would kill no food, 
but that we would distribute it in public ; and that we 
would be in all things guided by the majority, and not 
insist upon our own resolutions in anything, if the majority 
were against it ; that we would appoint a captain among us 
to be our governor or leader during pleasure ; that while he 
was in office we would obey him without reserve, on pain of 
death ; and that everyone should take turn, but the captain 
was not to act in any particular thing without advice of the 
rest, and by the majority. 

Having established these rules, we resolved to enter into 
some measures for our food, and for conversing with the 
inhabitants or natives of the island for our supply ; as for 
food, they were at first very useful to us, but we soon grew 
weary of them, being an ignorant, ravenous, brutish sort of 
people, even worse than the natives of any other country 
that we had seen ; and we soon found that the principal 
part of our subsistence was to be had by our guns, shooting 
of deer and other creatures, and fowls of all other sorts, of 
which there is abundance. 


We found the natives did not disturb or concern them- 
selves much about us ; nor did they inquire or perhaps 
know whether we stayed among them or not, much less that 
our ship was gone quite away, and had cast us off, as was 
our case ; for the next morning after we had sent back the 
long-boat, the ship stood away to the south-east, and in four 
hours' time was out of our sight. 

The next day two of us went out into the country one 
way, and two another, to see what kind of a land we were 
in ; and we soon found the country was very pleasant and 
fruitful, and a convenient place to live in ; but, as before, 
inhabited by a parcel of creatures scarce human, or capable 
of being made sociable on any account whatsoever. 

We found the place full of cattle and provisions : but 
whether we might venture to take them where we could find 
them, or not, we did not know ; and though we were under 
a necessity to get provisions, yet we were loath to bring 
down a whole nation of devils upon us at once, and, there- 
fore, some of our company agreed to try to speak with 
some of the country, if we could, that we might see what 
course was to be taken with them. Eleven of our men 
went on this errand, well armed, and furnished for defence. 
They brought word that they had seen some of the natives, 
who appeared very civil to them, but very shy and afraid, 
seeing their guns ; for it was easy to perceive that the 
natives knew what their guns were, and what use they 
were of. 

They made signs to the natives for some food, and they 
went and fetched several herbs and roots, and some milk ; 
but it was evident they did not design to give it away, 
but to sell it, making signs to know what our men would 
give them. 

Our men were perplexed at this, for they had nothing to 


barter; however, one of the men pulled out a knife and 
showed them, and they were so fond of it that they were 
ready to go together by the ears for the knife : the seaman 
seeing that, was willing to make a good market of his knife, 
and keeping them chaffering a good while, some offered him 
roots, and others milk ; at last one offered him a goat for it, 
which he took. Then another of our men showed them 
another knife, but they had nothing good enough for that, 
whereupon one of them made signs that he would go and 
fetch something ; so our men stayed three hours for their 
return, when they came back, and brought him a small- 
sized, thick, short cow, very fat, and good meat, and gave 
him for his knife. 

This was a good market, but our misfortune was, we had 
no merchandise ; for our knives were as needful to us as to 
them, and but that we were in distress for food, and must of 
necessity have some, these men would not have parted with 
their knives. 

However, in a little time more we found that the woods 
were full of living creatures which we might kill for our food, 
and that without giving offence to them ; so that our men 
went daily out a hunting, and never failed to kill something 
or other ; for, as to the natives, we had no goods to barter, 
and for money, all the stock among us would not have 
subsisted us long; however, we called a general council 
to see what money we had, and to bring it all together, that 
it might go as far as possible ; and when it came to my turn, I 
pulled out a moidore and the two dollars I spoke of before. 

This moidore I ventured to show, that they might not 
despise me too much for adding too little to the store, and 
that they might not pretend to search me ; and they were 
very civil to me, upon the presumption that I had been so 
faithful to them as not to conceal anything from them. 


But our money did us little service, for the people neither 
knew the value or the use of it, nor could they justly rate 
the gold in proportion with the silver; so that all our 
money, which was not much when it was all put together, 
would go but a little way with us, that is to say, to buy us 

Our next consideration was, to get away from this cursed 
place, and whither to go. When my opinion came to be 
asked, I told them I would leave that all to them, and I 
told them I had rather they would let me go into the 
woods to get them some provisions than consult with me, 
for I would agree to whatever they did; but they would 
not agree to that, for they would not consent that any of us 
should go into the woods alone ; for though we had yet 
seen no lions or tigers in the woods, we were assured there 
were many in the island, besides other creatures as 
dangerous, and perhaps worse, as we afterwards found by 
our own experience. 

We had many adventures in the woods for our provisions, 
and often met with wild and terrible beasts, which we could 
not call by their names ; but as they were, like us, seeking 
their prey, but were themselves good for nothing, so we 
disturbed them as little as possible. 

Our consultations concerning our escape from this place, 
which, as I have said, we were now upon, ended in this 
only, that as we had two carpenters among us, and that 
they had tools almost of all sorts with them, we should try 
to build us a boat to go off to sea with, and that then 
perhaps we might find our way back to Goa, or land on 
some more proper place to make our escape. The counsels 
of this assembly were not of great moment ; yet, as they 
seem to be introductory of many more remarkable ad- 
ventures which happened under my conduct hereabouts 


many years after, I think this miniature of my future 
enterprises may not be unpleasant to relate. 

To the building of a boat I made no objection, and away 
they went to work immediately : but as they went on, great 
difficulties occurred, such as want of saws to cut out plank ; 
nails, bolts, and spikes, to fasten the timbers ; hemp, pitch, 
and tar, to caulk and pay her seams, and the like. At length 
one of the company proposed, that, instead of building a 
barque, or sloop, or shallop, or whatever they would call it, 
which they found was so difficult, they should rather make a 
large periagua, or canoe, which might be done with great ease. 

It was presently objected, that we could never make a 
canoe large enough to pass the great ocean, which we were 
to go over, to get to the coast of Malabar ; that it not only 
would not bear the sea, but it would never bear the 
burthen ; for we were not only twenty-seven of us, but had 
a great deal of luggage with us, and must, for our provision, 
take in a great deal more. 

I never proposed to speak in their general consultations 
before ; but finding they were at some loss about what kind 
of vessel they should make, and how to make it, and what 
would be fit for our use, and what not; I told them, I 
found they were at a full stop in their counsels of every 
kind ; that it was true we could never pretend to go over to 
Goa, or the coast of Malabar, in a canoe, which, though we 
could all get into it, and "that it would bear the sea well 
enough, yet would not hold our provisions, and especially 
we could not put fresh water enough into it for the voyage ; 
and to make such an adventure would be nothing but mere 
running into certain destruction, and yet that nevertheless 
I was for making a canoe. 

They answered, that they understood all I had said 
before well enough, but what I meant by telling them first 


how dangerous and impossible it was to make our escape in 
a canoe, and yet then to advise making a canoe, that they 
could not understand. 

To this I answered, that I conceived our business was 
not to attempt our escape in a canoe, but that, as there 
were other vessels at sea besides our ship, and that there 
were few nations that lived on the sea-shore that were so 
barbarous but that they went to sea in some boats or other, 
our business was to cruise along the coast of the island, 
which was very long, and to seize upon the first we could 
get that was better than our own, and so from that to 
another, till perhaps we might at last get a good ship to 
carry us whither ever we pleased to go. 

Excellent advice, says one of them. Admirable advice, 
says another. Yes, yes, says the third (which was the 
gunner), the English dog has given excellent advice ; but it 
is just the way to bring us all to the gallows. The rogue 
has given devilish advice, indeed, to go a-thieving, till from, 
a little vessel we come to a great ship, and so we shall turn 
downright pirates, the end of which is to be hanged. 

You may call us pirates, says another, if you will ; and, if 
we fall into bad hands, we may be used like pirates ; but I 
care not for that, I'll be a pirate, or anything, nay, I'll be 
hanged for a pirate, rather than starve here ; and therefore 
I think the advice is very good ; and so they cried all, Let 
us have a canoe. The gunner, overruled by the rest, sub- 
mitted ; but as we broke up the council, he came to me, 
takes me by the hand, and looking into the palm of my 
hand, and into my face too, very gravely, My lad, says he, 
thou art born to do a world of mischief ; thou hast com- 
menced pirate very young ; but have a care of the gallows, 
young man; have a care, I say, for thou wilt be an eminent 


I laughed at him, and told him I did not know what I 
might come to hereafter ; but as our case was now, I 
should make no scruple to take the first ship I came at, to 
get our liberty ; I only wished we could see one, and come 
at her. Just while we were talking, one of our men that 
was at the door of our hut, told us, that the carpenter, who, 
it seems, was upon a hill at a distance, cried out, A sail ! 
a sail ! 

We all turned out immediately ; but, though it was very 
clear weather, we could see nothing ; but the carpenter con- 
tinuing to halloo to us, A sail ! a sail ! away we ran up the 
hill, and there we saw a ship plainly ; but it was at a very 
great distance, too far for us to make any signal to her. 
However, we made a fire upon the hill, with all the wood 
we could get together, and made as much smoke as pos- 
sible. The wind was down, and it was almost calm ; but 
as we thought, by a perspective glass which the gunner had 
in his pocket, her sails were full, and she stood away large 
with the wind at E.N.E., taking no notice of our signal, but 
making for the Cape de Bona Speranza : so we had no 
comfort from her. 

We went therefore immediately to work about our in- 
tended canoe ; and, having singled out a very large tree to 
our mind, we fell to work with her ; and having three good 
axes among us, we got it down, but it was four days' time 
first, though we worked very hard too. I do not remember 
what wood it was, or exactly what dimensions ; but I re- 
member that it was a very large one, and we were as much 
encouraged when we launched it, and found it swam up- 
right and steady, as we would have been at another time, if 
we had had a good man-of-war at our command. 

She was so very large, that she carried us all very easily, 
and would have carried two or three ton of baggage with 


us ; so that we began to consult about going to sea directly 
to Goa; but many other considerations checked that 
thought, especially when we came to look nearer into it : 
such as want of provisions, and no casks for fresh water ; 
no compass to steer by ; no shelter from the breach of the 
high sea, which would certainly founder us ; no defence 
from the heat of the weather and the like : so that they all 
came readily into my project to cruise about where we were, 
and see what might offer. 

Accordingly, to gratify our fancy, we went one day all 
out to sea in her together, and we were in a very fair way 
to have had enough of it ; for when she had us all on board, 
and that we were gotten about half a league to sea, there 
happening to be a pretty high swell of the sea, though little 
or no wind, yet she wallowed so in the sea that we all of us 
thought she would at last wallow herself bottom up ; so we 
set all to work to get her in nearer the shore, and giving 
her fresh way in the sea, she swam more steady, and with 
some hard work we got her under the land again. 

We were now at a great loss ; the natives were civil 
enough to us, and came often to discourse with us ; one 
time they brought one whom they showed respect to as a 
king with them, and they set up a long pole between them 
and us, with a great tassel of hair hanging, not on the top, 
but something above the middle of it, adorned with little 
chains, shells, bits ot brass, and the like; and this we 
understood afterwards was a token of amity and friendship ; 
and they brought down to us victuals in abundance, cattle, 
fowls, herbs, and roots : but we were in the utmost con- 
fusion on our side ; for we had nothing to buy with, or 
exchange for ; and as to giving us things for nothing, they 
had no notion of that again. As to our money, it was mere 
trash to them, they had no value for it ; so that we were in 


a fair way to be starved. Had we had but some toys and 
trinkets, brass chains, baubles, glass beads, or, in a word, 
the veriest trifles that a ship-load would not have been 
worth the freight, we might have bought cattle and pro- 
visions enough for an army, or to victual a fleet of men-of-war, 
but for gold or silver we could get nothing. 

Upon this we were in a strange consternation. I was but 
a young fellow, but I was for falling upon them with our 
fire-arms, and taking all the cattle from them, and send them 
to the devil to stop their hunger, rather than be starved 
ourselves : but I did not consider that this might have 
brought ten thousand of them down upon us the next day ; 
and though we might have killed a vast number of them, 
and perhaps have frightened the rest, yet their own desper- 
ation, and our small number, would have animated them 
so, that one time or other they would have destroyed us all. 

In the middle of our consultation, one of our men, who 
had been a kind of a cutler, or worker in iron, started up. 
and asked the carpenter if, among all his tools, he could 
not help him to a file. Yes, says the carpenter, I can, but 
it is a small one. The smaller the better, says the other. 
Upon this he goes to work, and first, by heating a piece of 
an old broken chisel in the fire, and then with the help of 
his file, he made himself several kinds of tools for his work, 
and then he takes three or four pieces of eight, and beats 
them out with a hammer upon a stone, till they were very 
broad and thin, then he cut them out into the shape of birds 
and beasts; he made little chains of them for bracelets and 
necklaces, and turned them into so many devices, of his own 
head, that it is hardly to be expressed. 

When he had for about a fortnight exercised his head and 
hands at this work, we tried the effect of his ingenuity ; and, 
having another meeting with the natives, were surprised to 
see the folly of the poor people. For a little bit of silver 


cut out in the shape of a bird we had two cows, and, which 
was our loss, if it had been in brass, it had been still of more 
value. For one of the bracelets made of chain-work we had 
as much provision of several sorts as would fairly have been 
worth, in England, fifteen or sixteen pounds ; and so of all 
the rest. Thus, that which when it was in coin was not 
worth sixpence to us, when thus converted into toys and 
trifles, was worth a hundred times its real value, and 
purchased for us anything we had occasion for. 

In this condition we lived upwards of a year, but all of us 
began to be very much tired of it, and, whatever came of it, 
resolved to attempt an escape. We had furnished ourselves 
with no less than three very good canoes ; and as the 
monsoons, or trade winds, generally affect that country, 
blowing in most parts of this island one six months of a 
year one way, and the other six months another way, we 
concluded we might be able to bear the sea well enough. 
But always, when we came to look nearer into it, the want 
of fresh water was the thing that put us off from such an 
adventure, for it is a prodigious length, and what no man on 
earth could be able to perform without water to drink. 

Being thus prevailed upon by our own reason to set the 
thoughts of that voyage aside, we had then but two things 
before us ; one was, to put to sea the other way viz., west, 
and go away for the Cape of Good Hope, where, first or 
last, we should meet with some of our own country ships, or 
else to put for the mainland of Africa, and either travel by 
land, or sail along the coast towards the Red Sea, where we 
should, first or last, find a ship of some nation or other, that 
would take us up ; or, perhaps, we might take them up, 
which, by-the-bye, was the thing that always run in my 

It was our ingenious cutler, whom ever after we called 


silversmith, that proposed this; but the gunner told him 
that he had been in the Red Sea in a Malabar sloop, and he 
knew this, that if we went into the Red Sea, we should 
either be killed by the wild Arabs, or taken and made slaves 
of by the Turks ; and therefore he was not for going that 

Upon this I took occasion to put in my vote again. 
Why, said I, do we talk of being killed by the Arabs, or 
made slaves of by the Turks ? Are we not able to board 
almost any vessel we shall meet with in those seas ; and, 
instead of their taking us, we to take them ? Well done, 
pirate, said the gunner (he that had looked in my hand, and 
told me I should come to the gallows), I'll say that for him, 
says he, he always looks the same way. But I think, of my 
conscience, it is our only way now. Do not tell me, says I, 
of being a pirate : we must be pirates, or anything, to get 
fairly out of this cursed place. 

In a word, they concluded all, by my advice, that our 
business was to cruise for anything we could see. Why, 
then, said I to them, our first business is to see if the people 
upon this island have any navigation, and what boats they 
use ; and, if they have any better or bigger than ours, let us 
take one of them. First, indeed, all our aim was to get, if 
possible, a boat with a deck and sail ; for then we might 
have saved our provisions, which otherwise we could not. 

We had, to our great good fortune, one sailor among us, 
who had been assistant to the cook ; he told us, that he 
would find a way how to preserve our beef, without cask or 
pickle; and this he did effectually by curing it in the sun, 
with the help of saltpetre, of which there was great plenty 
in the island ; so that, before we found any method for our 
escape, we had dried the flesh of six or seven cows and 
bullocks, and ten or twelve goats, and it relished so well, 


that we never gave ourselves the trouble to boil it when we 
eat it, but either broiled it, or eat it dry : but our main 
difficulty about fresh water still remained ; for we had no 
vessel to put any into, much less to keep any for our going 
to sea. 

But our first voyage being only to coast the island, we 
resolved to venture, whatever the hazard or consequence of 
it might be ; and in order to preserve as much fresh water as 
we could, our carpenter made a well thwart the middle of 
one of our canoes, which he separated from the other parts 
of the canoe, so as to make it tight to hold the water, and 
covered so as we might step upon it ; and this was so large 
that it held near a hogshead of water very well. I cannot 
better describe this well than by the same kind which the 
small fisher-boats in England have to preserve their fish 
alive in ; only that this, instead of having holes to let the 
salt water in, was made sound every way to keep it out ; and 
it was the first invention, I believe, of its kind, for such an 
use. But necessity is a spur to ingenuity, and the mother 
of invention. 

It wanted but a little consultation to resolve now upon 
our voyage. The first design was only to coast it round the 
island, as well to see if we could seize upon any vessel fit to 
embark ourselves in, as also to take hold of any opportunity 
which might present for our passing over to the main ; and, 
therefore, our resolution was to go on the inside, or west 
shore of the island, where at least at one point, the land 
stretching a great way to the north-west, the distance is not 
extraordinary great from the island to the coast of Africa. 

Such a voyage, and with such a desperate crew, I believe 
was never made ; for it is certain we took the worst side of 
the island to look for any shipping, especially for shipping of 
other nations, this being quite out of the way ; however, we 


put to sea, after taking all our provisions and ammunitions, 
bag and baggage, on board. We had made both mast and 
sail for our two large periaguas, and the other we paddled 
along as well as we could ; but when a gale sprung up, we 
took her in tow. 


WE sailed merrily forward for several days, meeting with 
nothing to interrupt us. We saw several of the natives in 
small canoes, catching fish, and sometimes we endeavoured 
to come near enough to speak with them ; but they were 
always shy, and afraid of us, making in for the shore as soon 
as we attempted it, till one of our company remembered the 
signal of friendship which the natives made us from the 
south part of the island viz., of setting up a long pole, and 
put us in mind that perhaps it was the same thing to them 
as a flag of truce was to us : so we resolved to try it ; and, 
accordingly, the next time we saw any of their fishing-boats 
at sea, we put up a pole in our canoe that had no sail, and 
rowed towards them. As soon as they saw the pole, they 
stayed for us, and, as we came nearer, paddled towards us. 
When they came to us they showed themselves very much 
pleased, and gave us some large fish, of which we did not 
know the names, but they were very good. It was our 
misfortune still that we had nothing to give them in return ; 
but our artist, of whom I spoke before, gave them two little 
thin plates of silver, beaten, as I said before, out of a piece 
of eight ; they were cut in a diamond square, longer one 
way than the other, and a hole punched at one of the 
longest corners. This they were so fond of that they made 
us stay till they had cast their lines and nets again, and gave 
us as many fish as we cared to have. 


All this while we had our eyes upon their boats, viewed 
them very narrowly, and examined whether any of them 
were fit for our turn; but they were poor, sorry things. 
Their sail was made of a large mat, only one that was of a 
piece of cotton stuff, fit for little, and their ropes were 
twisted flags of no strength; so we concluded we were 
better as we were, and let them alone. We went forward 
to the north, keeping the coast close on board for twelve 
days together ; and having the wind at east, and E.S.E., we 
made very fresh way. We saw no towns on the shore, but 
often saw some huts by the water-side, upon the rocks, and 
always abundance of people about them, who we could 
perceive run together to stare at us. 

It was as odd a voyage as ever men went : we were a 
little fleet of three ships, and an army of between twenty 
and thirty as dangerous fellows as ever they had amongst 
them ; and, had they known what we were, they would have 
compounded to give us everything we desired, to be rid of us. 

On the. other hand, we were as miserable as nature could 
well make us to be ; for we were upon a voyage and no 
voyage we were bound somewhere and nowhere; for, 
though we knew what we intended to do, we did really not 
know what we were doing. We went forward and forward 
by a northerly course ; and as we advanced, the heat 
increased, which began to be intolerable to us who were 
upon the water, without any covering from heat or wet; 
besides, we were now in the month of October, or there- 
abouts, in a southern latitude ; and as we went every day 
nearer the sun, the sun came also every day nearer to us, 
till at last we found ourselves in the latitude of 20 degrees ; 
and having passed the tropic about five or six days before 
that, in a few days more the sun would be in the zenith, 
just over our heads. 


Upon these considerations we resolved to seek for a 
good place to go on shore again, and pitch our tents, 
till the heat of the weather abated. We had by this time 
measured half the length of the island, and were come 
to that part where the shore, tending away to the north- 
west, promised fair to make our passage over to the 
mainland of Africa much shorter than we expected. But, 
notwithstanding that, we had good reason to believe it was 
about one hundred and twenty leagues. 

So, the heats considered, we resolved to take harbour; 
besides, our provisions were exhausted, and we had not 
many days' store left. Accordingly, putting in for the shore 
early in the morning, as we usually did once in three 
or four days, for fresh water, we sat down and considered 
whether we should go on or take up our standing there ; but 
upon several considerations, too long to repeat here, we did 
not like the place, so we resolved to go on a few days longer. 

After sailing on N.W. by N. with a fresh gale at S.E. 
about six days, we found, at a great distance, a large 
promontory, or cape of land, pushing out a long way into 
the sea ; and, as we were exceeding fond of seeing what 
was beyond the cape, we resolved to double it before 
we took into harbour ; so we kept on our way, the gale 
continuing; and yet it was four days more before we 
reached the cape. But it is not possible to express the 
discouragement and melancholy that seized us all when 
we came thither ; for when we made the headland of the 
cape, we were surprised to see the shore fall away on the 
other side, as much as it had advanced on this side, and a 
great deal more ; and that, in short, if we would venture 
over to the shore of Africa, it must be from hence ; for that, 
if we went further, the breadth of the sea still increased, and 
to what breadth it might increase we knew not. 


While we mused upon this discovery, we were surprised 
with very bad weather, and especially violent rains, with 
thunder and lightning, most unusually terrible to us. In 
this pickle we ran for the shore, and getting under the lee 
of the cape, ran our frigates into a little creek, where we 
saw the land overgrown with trees, and made all the haste 
possible to get on shore, being exceeding wet, and 
fatigued with the heat, the thunder, lightning, and rain. 

Here we thought our case was very deplorable indeed, 
and therefore our artist, of whom I have spoken so often, 
set up a great cross of wood on the hill, which was within a 
mile of the headland, with these words, but in the 
Portuguese language : 

" Point Desperation. Jesus have mercy ! " 

We set to work immediately to build up some huts, and 
so get our clothes dried ; and though I was young, and had 
no skill in such things, yet I shall never forget the little city 
we built, for it was no less ; and we fortified it accordingly ; 
and the idea is so fresh in my thought, that I cannot but 
give a short description of it. 

Our camp was on the south side of a little creek on the 
sea, and under the shelter of a steep hill, which lay, though 
on the other side of the creek, yet within a quarter of a mile 
of us, N.W. by N., and very happily intercepted the heat of 
the sun all the after part of the day. The spot we pitched 
on had a little fresh-water brook, or a stream, running into 
the creek by us ; and we saw cattle feeding in the plains and 
low ground, east and to the south of us a great way. 

Here we set up twelve little nuts, like soldiers' tents, but 
made of the boughs of trees, stuck into the ground, and 
bound together on the top with withies, and such other 
things as we could get ; the creek was our defence on the 


north, a little brook on the west, and the south and east 
sides we fortified with a bank, which entirely covered our 
huts ; and, being drawn oblique from the north-west to the 
south-east, made our city a triangle. Behind the bank or 
line our huts stood, having three other huts behind them at 
a good distance. In one of these, which was a little one, 
and stood further off, we put our gunpowder, and nothing 
else, for fear of danger ; in the other, which was bigger, we 
drest our victuals and put all our necessaries ; and in the 
third, which was biggest of all, we eat our dinners, called 
our councils, and sat and diverted ourselves with such con- 
versation as we had one with another, which was but 
indifferent truly at that time. 

Our correspondence with the natives was absolutely 
necessary, and our artist, the cutler, having made abundance 
of those little diamond-cut squares of silver, with these we 
made shift to traffic with the black people for what we 
wanted ; for, indeed, they were pleased wonderfully with 
them ; and thus we got plenty of provisions. At first, and 
in particular, we got about fifty head of black cattle and 
goats, and our cook's mate took care to cure them, and dry 
them salt and preserve them, for our grand supply ; nor was 
this hard to do, the salt and saltpetre being very good, and 
the sun excessively hot ; and here we lived about four 

The southern solstice was over, and the sun gone back 
towards the equinoctial, when we considered of our next 
adventure, which was to go over the sea of Zanquebar, as 
the Portugese call it, and to land, if possible, upon the 
continent of Africa. 

We talked with many of the natives about it, such as we 
could make ourselves intelligible to ; but all that we could 
learn from them was, that there was a great land of lions 


beyond the sea, but that it was a great way off; we knew as 
well as they that it was a long way, but our people differed 
mightily about it : some said it was one hundred and fifty 
leagues, others not above one hundred. One of our 
men, that had a map of the world, showed us by his scale 
that it was not above eighty leagues. Some said there were 
islands all the way to touch at ; some, that there were no 
islands at all ; for my part, I knew nothing of this matter 
one way or another, but heard it all without concern, 
whether it was near or far off; however, this we learned 
from an old man who was blind, and led about by a boy, 
that if we stayed till the end of August, we should be sure 
of the wind to be fair, and the sea smooth all the voyage. 

This was some encouragement ; but staying again was 
very unwelcome news to us, because that then the sun would 
be returning again to the south, which was what our men 
were very unwilling to. At last we called a council of our 
whole body ; their debates were too tedious to take notice 
of, only to note, that when it came to Captain Bob (for so 
they called me ever since I had taken state upon me before 
one of their great princes), truly I was on no side, it was 
not one farthing matter to me, I told them, whether we went 
or stayed ; I had no home, and all the world was alike to 
me ; so I left it entirely to them to determine. 

In a word, they saw plainly there was nothing to be done 
where we were, without shipping ; that, if our business 
indeed was only to eat and drink, we could not find a 
better place in the world ; but, if our business was to get 
away, and get home into our country, we could not find a 

I confess, I liked the country wonderfully, and even then 
had strange notions of coming again to live there ; and I 
used to say to them very often, that, if I had but a ship of 


twenty guns, and a sloop, and both well manned, I would 
not desire a better place in the world to make myself as rich 
as a king. 

But to return to the consultations they were in about 
going. Upon the whole, it was resolved to venture over 
for the main ; and venture we did, madly enough indeed : 
for it was the wrong time of the year to undertake such a 
voyage in that country ; for, as the winds hang easterly all 
the months from September to March, so they generally 
hang westerly all the rest of the year, and blew right in our 
teeth, so that, as soon as we had, with a kind of a land- 
breeze, stretched over about fifteen or twenty leagues, and, 
as I may say, just enough to lose ourselves, we found the 
wind set in a steady fresh gale or breeze from the sea, at 
west, W.S.W. or S.W. by W., and never further from the 
west ; so that, in a word, we could make nothing of it 

On the other hand, the vessel, such as we had, would not 
lie close upon a wind ; if so, we might have stretched away 
N.N.W. and have met with a great many islands in our way, 
as we found afterwards ; but we could make nothing of it, 
though we tried, and by the trying had almost undone us 
all ; for, stretching away to the north, as near the wind as 
we could, we had forgotten the shape and position of the 
island of Madagascar itself; how that we came off at the 
head of a promontory or point of land that lies about the 
middle of the island, and that stretches out west a great 
way into the sea ; and that now, being run a matter of forty 
leagues to the north, the shore of the island fell off again 
about two hundred miles to the east, so that we were by 
this time in the wide ocean, between the island and the 
main, and almost one hundred leagues from both. 

Indeed, as the winds blew fresh at west, as before, we had 
a smooth sea, and we found it pretty good going before it, 


and so, taking our smallest canoe in tow, we stood in for the 
shore with all the sail we could make. This was a terrible 
adventure ; for, if the least gust of wind had come, we had 
been all lost, our canoes being deep, and in no condition 
to make way in a high sea. 

This voyage, however, held us eleven days in all ; and at 
length, having spent most of our provisions, and every drop 
of water we had, we spied land, to our great joy, though at 
the distance of ten or eleven leagues ; and as, under the 
land, the wind came off like a land-breeze, and blew hard 
against us, we were two days more before we reached the 
shore, having all that while excessive hot weather, and not 
a drop of water, or any other liquor, except some cordial 
waters, which one of our company had a little of left in a 
case of bottles. 

This gave us a taste of what we should have done if we 
had ventured forward with a scant wind and uncertain 
weather, and gave us a surfeit of our design for the main, at 
least until we might have some better vessels under us ; so 
we went on shore again, and pitched our camp, as before, 
in as convenient a manner as we could, fortifying ourselves 
against any surprise ; but the natives here were exceeding 
courteous, and much civiller than on the south part of the 
island ; and though we could not understand what they 
said, or they us, yet we found means to make them under- 
stand that we were seafaring men, and strangers ; and that 
we were in distress for want of provisions. 

The first proof we had of their kindness was, that, as 
soon as they saw us come on shore, and begin to make our 
habitation, one of their captains or kings, for we knew not 
what to call them, came down with five or six men and 
some women, and brought us five goats and two young fat 
steers, and gave them to us for nothing ; and when we went 


to offer them anything, the captain, or the king, would not 
let any of them touch it, or take anything of us. About 
two hours after came another king, or captain, with forty or 
fifty men after him : we began to be afraid of him, and laid 
hands upon our weapons ; but he perceiving it, caused two 
men to go before him, carrying two long poles in their 
hands, which they held upright, as high as they could, 
which we presently perceived was a signal of peace, and 
these two poles they set up afterwards, sticking them up in 
the ground ; and when the king and his men came to these 
two poles they stuck all their lances up in the ground, and 
came on unarmed, leaving their lances, as also their bows 
and arrows, behind them. 

This was to satisfy us that they were come as friends, and 
we were very glad to see it ; for we had no mind to quarrel 
with them, if we could help it. The captain of this gang 
seeing some of our men making up their huts, and that they 
did it but bunglingly, he beckoned to some of his men to go 
and help us. Immediately fifteen or sixteen of them came 
and mingled among us, and went to work for us ; and, 
indeed, they were better workmen than we were, for they 
run up three or four huts for us in a moment, and much 
handsomer done than ours. 

After this they sent us milk, plaintains, pumpkins, and 
abundance of roots and greens that were very good, and 
then took their leave, and would not take anything from 
us that we had. One of our men offered the king or captain 
of these men a dram, which he drank, and was mightily 
pleased with it, and held out his hand for another, which 
we gave him ; and, in a word, after this he hardly failed 
coming to us two or three times a-week, always bringing us 
something or other : and one time sent us seven head of 
black cattle, some of which we cured and dried as before. 


And here I cannot but remember one thing, which after- 
wards stood us in great stead viz., that the flesh of their 
goats, and their beef also, but especially the former, when 
we had dried and cured it, looked red, and eat hard and 
firm, as dried beef in Holland : they were so pleased with 
it, and it was such a dainty to them, that, at any time after, 
they would trade with us for it, not knowing, or so much as 
imagining, what it was ; so that, for ten or twelve pounds 
weight of smoked dried beef they would give us a whole 
bullock, or cow, or anything else we could desire. 

Here we observed two things that were very material to 
us, even essentially so ; first, we found they had a great 
deal of earthenware here, which they make use of many 
ways, as we did : particularly, they had long, deep earthen 
pots, which they used to sink into the ground, to keep the 
water which they drank cool and pleasant ; and the other 
was, that they had larger canoes than their neighbours 

By this we were prompted to inquire if they had no 
larger vessels than those we saw there, or if any other of 
the inhabitants had not such. They signified, presently, 
that they had no larger boats than that they showed us ; but 
that, on the other side of the island, they had larger boats, 
and that with decks upon them and large sails ; and this 
made us resolve to coast round the whole island to see 
them ; so we prepared and victualled our canoe for the 
voyage, and, in a word, went to sea for the third time. 

It cost us a month or six weeks' time to perform this 
voyage, in.which time we went on shore several times for 
water and provisions, and found the natives always very 
free and courteous ; but we were surprised one morning 
early, being at the extremity of the northernmost part of the 
island, when one of our men cried out, " A sail, a sail ! " 


we presently saw a vessel a great way out at sea : but after 
we had looked at it with our perspective glasses, and 
endeavoured all we could to make out what it was, we 
could not tell what to think of it ; for it was neither ship, 
ketch, galley, galliot, or like anything- that we had ever 
seen before : all that we could make of it was that it went 
from us, standing out to sea. In a word, we soon lost 
sight of it, for we were in no condition to chase anything, 
and we never saw it again, but by all we could perceive of 
it, from what we saw of such things afterwards, it was 
some Arabian vessel which had been trading to the coast of 
Mozambique, or Zanquebar, the same place where we 
afterwards went, as you shall hear. 

Nor do I remember that the natives differed much from 
one another, either in stature or complexion, or in their 
manners, their habits, their weapons, or indeed in any- 
thing ; and yet we could not perceive that they had any 
intelligence one with another, but they were extremely 
kind and civil to us on this side as well as on the other. 

We continued our voyage south for many weeks, though 
with several intervals of going on shore to' get provisions 
and water. At length, coming round a point of land which 
lay about a league further than ordinary into the sea, we 
were agreeably surprised with a sight, which, no doubt, had 
been as disagreeable to those concerned as it was pleasant 
to us. This was the wreck of an European ship, which 
had been cast away upon the rocks, which in that place run 
a great way into the sea. 

We could see plainly, at low water, a great deal of the 
ship lay dry ; even at high water she was not entirely 
covered ; and that at most she did not lie above a league 
from the shore. It will easily be believed that our 
curiosity led us, the wind and weather also permitting, to 


go directly* to her, which we did without any difficulty, and 
presently found that it was a Dutch-built ship, and that she 
could not have been very long in that condition, a great 
deal of the upper work of her stern remaining firm, with 
the mizen-mast standing. Her stern seemed to be jammed 
in between two ridges of the rock, and so remained fast, 
all the fore-part of the ship having been beaten to pieces. 

We could see nothing to be gotten out of the wreck that 
was worth our while ; but we resolved to go on shore, and 
stay some time thereabouts, to see if perhaps we might get 
any light into the story of her ; and we were not without 
hopes that we might hear something more particular about 
her men, and perhaps find some of them on shore there, in 
the same condition that we were in, and so might increase 
our company. 

It was a very pleasant sight to us, when coming on shore, 
we saw all the marks and tokens of a ship-carpenter's yard ; 
as a launch-block and cradles, scaffolds, and planks, and 
pieces of planks, the remains of the building a ship or 
vessel ; and, in a word, a great many things that fairly 
invited us to go about the same work, and we soon came to 
understand, that the men belonging to the ship that was lost 
had saved themselves on shore, perhaps in their boat, and 
had built themselves a barque or sloop, and so were gone 
to sea again ; and inquiring of the natives which way they 
went, they pointed to the south and south-west, by which 
we could easily understand they were gone away to the 
Cape of Good Hope. 

Nobody will imagine we could be so dull as not to gather 
from hence, that we might take the same method for our 
escape ; so we resolved first in general, that we would try, 
if possible, to build us a boat of one kind or other, and go 
to sea as our fate should direct. 


In order to this, our first work was to have the two 
carpenters search about to see what materials the Dutch- 
men had left behind them that might be of use ; and, in 
particular, they found one that was very useful, and which I 
was much employed about, and that was a pitch-kettle, and 
a little pitch in it. 

When we came to set close to this work, we found it very 
laborious and difficult, having but few tools, no ironwork, 
no cordage, no sails : so that, in short, whatever we built 
we were obliged to be our own smiths, rope-makers, sail- 
makers, and indeed to practise twenty trades that we knew 
little or nothing of: however, necessity was the spur to 
invention, and we did many things which before we thought 
impracticable that is to say, in our circumstances. 

After our two carpenters had resolved upon the dimen- 
sions of what they would buiid, they set us all to work, to 
go off into our boats, and split up the wreck of the old 
ship, and to bring away everything we could, and particu- 
larly, that, if possible, we should bring away the mizen-mast, 
which was left standing, which with much difficulty we effected 
after above twenty days' labour of fourteen of our men. 

At the same time we got out a great deal of ironwork, as 
bolts, spikes, nails, etc., all which our artist, of whom I have 
spoken already, who was now grown a very dexterous 
smith, made us nails and hinges for our rudder, and spikes 
such as we wanted. 

But we wanted an anchor, and if we had had an anchor 
we could not have made a cable ; so we contented ourselves 
with making some ropes with the help of the natives, of 
such stuff as they made their mats of, and with these we 
made such a kind of cable or tow line as was sufficient to 
fasten our vessel to the shore, which we contented ourselves 
with for that time. 


To be short, we spent four months here, and worked 
very hard too; at the end of which time we launched 
our frigate, which, in a few words, had many defects, but 
yet, all things considered, it was as well as we could expect 
it to be. 

In short, it was a kind of sloop, of the burthen of near 
eighteen or twenty tons, and had we had masts and sails, 
standing and running rigging, as is usual in such cases, and 
other conveniences, the vessel might have carried us 
wherever we could have had a mind to go ; but of all the 
materials we wanted, this was the worst viz., that we had 
no tar, and but little pitch to pay the seams and secure the 
bottom ; and though we did what we could with tallow and 
oil to make a mixture to supply that part, yet we could not 
bring it to answer our end fully ; and when we launched 
her into the water, she was so leaky, and took in the water 
so fast, that we thought all our labour had been lost, for we 
had much ado to make her swim ; and as for pumps, we 
had none, nor had we any means to make one. 

But at length one of the natives, a black negro-man, 
showed us a tree, the wood of which being put into the fire 
sends forth a liquid that is as glutinous, and almost as 
strong, as tar, and of which, by boiling, we made a sort of 
stuff which served us for pitch, and this answered our end 
effectually; for we perfectly made our vessel sound and 
tight, so that we wanted no pitch or tar at all. This secret 
has stood me in stead, upon many occasions since that 
time, in the same place. 

Our vessel being thus finished, out of the mizen-mast of 
the ship we made a very good mast to her, and fitting our 
sails to it as well as we could ; then we made a rudder and 
tiller, and, in a word, everything that our present necessity 
called upon us for ; and having victualled her, and put as 



much fresh water on board as we thought we wanted, or as 
we knew how to stow (for we were yet without casks), we 
put to sea with a fair wind. 

We had spent near another year in these rambles, and in 
this piece of work ; for it was now, as our men said, about 
the beginning of February, and the sun went from us apace, 
which was much to our satisfaction, for the heats were 
exceedingly violent. The wind, as I said, was fair ; for, as 
I have since learned, the winds generally spring up to the 
eastward, as the sun goes from them to the north. 

Our debate now was which way we should go, and never 
were men so irresolute ; some were for going to the east, 
and stretching away directly for the coast of Malabar ; but 
others, who considered more seriously the length of that 
voyage, shook their heads at the proposal, knowing very 
well that neither our provisions (especially of water), or our 
vessel, were equal to such a run as that is, of near two 
thousand miles without any land to touch at in the way. 

These men, too, had all along had a great mind to a 
voyage for the mainland of Africa, where they said we 
should have a fair cast for our lives, and might be sure to 
make ourselves rich, which way soever we went, if we 
were but able to make our way through, whether by sea or 

Besides, as the case stood with us, we had not much 
choice for our way ; for, if we had resolved for the east, we 
were at the wrong season of the year, and must have stayed 
till April, or May, before we had gone to sea. At length, 
as we had the wind at S.E. and E.S.E., and fine promising 
weather, we came all into the same proposal, and resolved 
for the coast of Africa. Nor were we long in disputing as 
to our coasting the island which we were upon, for we were 
now upon the wrong side of the island for the voyage we 


intended ; so we stood away to the north, and having 
rounded the Cape, we hauled away southward, under the 
lee of the island, thinking to reach the west point of land, 
which, as I observed before, runs out so far towards the 
coast of Africa as would have shortened our run almost a 
hundred leagues. But when we had sailed about thirty 
leagues, we found the winds variable under the shore, and 
right against us ; so we concluded to stand over directly, 
for then we had the wind fair, and our vessel was but very 
ill fitted to lie near the wind, or any way indeed but just 
afore it. 

Having resolved upon it, therefore, we put into the shore 
to furnish ourselves again with fresh water, and other pro- 
visions, and about the latter end of March, with more 
courage than discretion, more resolution than judgment, we 
launched for the main coast of Africa. 

As for me, I had no anxiety about it ; so that we had but 
a view of reaching some land or other, I cared not what or 
where it was to be, having at this time no views of what 
was before me, nor much thought of what might or might 
not befall me ; but with as little consideration as any one 
can be supposed to have at my age, I consented to every- 
thing that was proposed, however hazardous the thing itself, 
however improbable the success. 

The voyage, as it was undertaken with a great deal of 
ignorance and desperation, so really it was not carried on 
with much resolution or judgment ; for we knew no more of 
the course we were to steer than this, that it was somewhere 
about the west, within two or three points N. or S. ; and as 
we had no compass with us but a little brass pocket 
compass, which one of our men had, more by accident 
than otherwise, so we could not be very exact in our 


However, as it pleased God that the wind continued fair 
at S.E. and by E., we found that N.W. by W., which was 
right afore it, was as good a course for us as any we could 
go, and thus we went on. 

The voyage was much longer than we expected ; our 
vessel also, which had no sail that was proportioned to her, 
made but very little way in the sea, and sailed heavily. No 
great adventures indeed happened in this voyage, being out 
of the way of everything that could offer to divert us ; and 
as for seeing any vessel, we had not the least occasion to 
hail anything in all the voyage ; for we saw not one vessel, 
small or great, the sea we were upon being entirely out of 
the way of all commerce, for the people of Madagascar 
knew no more of the shores of Africa than we did, only 
that there was a country of lions, as they call it, that way. 

We had been eight or nine days under sail, with a fair 
wind, when, to our great joy, one of the men cried out, 
Land ! We had great reason to be glad of the discovery ; 
for we had not water enough left for above two or three 
days more, though at a short allowance. However, though 
it was early in the morning when we discovered it, we made 
it near night before we reached it, the wind slackening 
almost to a calm, and our ship being, as I said, a very dull 

We were sadly baulked upon our coming to the land, when 
we found that, instead of the mainland of Africa, it was 
only a little island, with no inhabitants upon it at least 
none that we conld find ; nor any cattle, except a few goats, 
of which we killed three only. However, they served us 
for fresh meat, and we found very good water ; and it was 
fifteen days more before we reached the main, which, how- 
ever, at last we arrived at, and, which was most essential to 
us, came to it just as all our provisions were spent. Indeed, 


we may say they were spent first, for we had but a pint of 
water a day to each man for the last two days. But, to our 
great joy, we saw the land, though at a great distance, the 
evening before, and, by a pleasant gale in the night, were, 
by morning, within two leagues of the shore. 

We never scrupled going ashore at the first place we came 
at, though, had we had patience, we might have found a 
very fine river a little further off. However, we kept our 
frigate on float, by the help of two great poles, which we 
fastened into the ground to moor her, like piles ; and the 
little weak ropes, which, as I said, we had made of matting, 
served us well enough to make the vessel fast. 

As soon as we had viewed the country a little, got fresh 
water, and furnished ourselves with some victuals, which we 
found very scarce here, we went on board again with our 
stores. All we got for provision was some fowls that we 
killed, and a kind of wild buffalo, or bull, very small, but 
good meat. I say, having got these things on board, we 
resolved to sail on along the coast, which lay away N.N.E., 
till we found some creek or river that we might run up into 
the country, or some town or people ; for we had reason 
enough to know the place was inhabited, because we several 
times saw fires in the night, and smoke in the day, every 
way at a distance from us. 


AT length we came to a very large bay, and in it several 
little creeks or rivers emptying themselves into the sea, and 
we run boldly into the first creek we came at, where, seeing 
some huts and wild people about them on the shore, we ran 
our vessel into a little cove on the north side of the creek, 


and held up a long pole, with a white bit of cloth on it, for 
a signal of peace to them. We found they understood us 
presently, for they came flocking to us, men, women, and 
children, most of them, of both sexes, stark naked. At 
first they stood wondering and staring at us as if we had 
been monsters, and as if they had been frightened ; but we 
found they inclined to be familiar with us afterwards. The 
first thing we did to try them was, we held up our hands to 
our mouths, as if we were to drink, signifying that we 
wanted water. This they understood presently, and three of 
their women and two boys ran away up the land, and came 
back in about half a quarter of an hour with several pots 
made of earth, pretty enough, and baked, I suppose, in the 
sun. These they brought us full of water, and set them 
down near the sea-shore, and there left them, going back a 
little, that we might fetch them, which we did. 

Some time after this they brought us roots and herbs, 
and some fruits which I cannot remember, and gave us ; 
but as we had nothing to give them, we found them not so 
free as the people of Madagascar were. However, our 
cutler went to work, and, as he had saved some iron out of 
the wreck of the ship, he made abundance of toys, birds, 
dogs, pins, hooks, and rings ; and we helped to file them, and 
make them bright for him ; and when we gave them some 
of these, they brought us all the sort of provisions they had, 
such as goats, hogs, and cows, and we got victuals enough. 

We were now landed upon the continent of Africa, the 
most desolate desert and inhospitable country in the 
world, even Greenland and Nova Zembla itself not 
excepted; with this difference only, that even the worst 
part of it we found inhabited; though, taking the nature 
and quality of some of the inhabitants, it might have been 
much better to us if there had been none. 


And, to add to the exclamation I am making on the nature 
of the place, it was here that we took one of the rashest, 
and wildest, and most desperate resolutions that was ever 
taken by man, or any number of men, in the world ; this 
was to travel over land through the heart of the country, 
from the coast of Mozambique, on the east ocean, to the 
coast of Angola or Guinea, on the western or Atlantic ocean, 
a continent of land at least 1800 miles; in which journey 
we had excessive heats to support, unpassable deserts to go 
over; no carriages, camels, or beasts of any kind to carry 
our baggage, innumerable numbers of wild and ravenous 
beasts to encounter with, such as lions, leopards, tigers, 
lizards, and elephants ; we had the equinoctial line to pass 
under, and, consequently, were in the very centre of the 
torrid zone ; we had nations of savages to encounter with, 
barbarous and brutish to the last degree; hunger and 
thirst to struggle with ; and, in one word, terrors enough to 
have daunted the stoutest hearts that ever were placed in 
cases of flesh and blood. 

Yet, fearless of all these, we resolved to adventure, 
and accordingly made such preparations for our journey 
as the place we were in would allow us, and such as 
our little experience of the country seemed to dictate to 

It had been some time already that we had been used 
to tread barefooted upon the rocks, the gravel, the grass, 
and the sand on the shore ; but, as we found the worst 
thing for our feet was the walking or travelling on the dry 
burning sands within the country, so we provided ourselves 
with a sort of shoes, made of the skins of wild beasts, with 
the hair inward, and being dried in the sun, the outsides 
were thick and hard, and would last a great while. In 
short, as I called them, so I think the term very proper 


still, we made us gloves for our feet, and we found them 
very convenient and very comfortable. 

We conversed with some of the natives of the country, 
who were friendly enough. What tongue they spoke I do 
not yet pretend to know. We talked as far as we could 
make them understand us, not only about our provisions, 
but also about our undertaking ; and asked them what 
country lay that way, pointing west with our hands. They 
told us but little to our purpose, only we thought, by all 
their discourse, that there were many great rivers ; many 
lions and tigers, elephants, and furious wild cats (which 
in the end we found to be civet cats), and the like. 

When we asked them if anyone had ever travelled that 
way, they told us, Yes ; some had gone to where the sun 
sleeps, meaning to the west ; but they could not tell us who 
they were. When we asked for some to guide us, they 
shrunk up their shoulders, as Frenchmen do when they are 
afraid to undertake a thing. When we asked them about 
the lions and wild creatures, they laughed, and let us know 
they would do us no hurt, and directed us to a good way 
indeed to deal with them, and that was to make some fire, 
which would always fright them away ; and so indeed we 
found it. 

Upon these encouragements we resolved upon our 
journey, and many considerations put us upon it, which, 
had the thing itself been practicable, we were not so much 
to blame for as it might otherwise be supposed : I will 
name some of them, not to make the account too tedious. 

First, we were perfectly destitute of means to work about 
our own deliverance any other way ; we were on shore in a 
place perfectly remote from all European navigation ; so 
that we could never think of being relieved, and fetched off 
by any of our own countrymen in that part of the world. 


Secondly, if we had adventured to have sailed on along the 
coast of Mozambique, and the desolate shores of Africa to 
the north, till \ve came to the Red Sea, all we could hope 
for there was to be taken by the Arabs, and be sold for 
slaves to the Turks, which to all of us was little better than 
death. We could not build anything of a vessel that would 
carry us over the great Arabian Sea to India, nor could we 
reach the Cape de Bona Speranza, the winds being too 
variable, and the sea in that latitude too tempestuous ; but 
we all knew, if we could cross this continent of land, we 
might reach some of the great rivers that run into the Atlan- 
tic ocean ; and that, on the banks of any of those rivers, we 
might there build us canoes, which would carry us down, if 
it were thousands of miles ; so that we could want nothing 
but food, of which we were assured we might kill sufficient 
with our guns ; and, to add to the satisfaction of our deliver- 
ance, we concluded we might everyone of us get a quantity 
of gold, which, if we came safe, would infinitely recompense 
us for our toil. 

I cannot say that, in all our consultations, I ever began 
to enter into the weight and merit of any enterprise we 
went upon till now. My view before was, as I thought, 
very good viz., that we should get into the Arabian gulf, 
or the mouth of the Red Sea ; and waiting for some vessel 
passing or re-passing there, of which there is plenty, have 
seized upon the first we came at by force, and not only 
have enriched ourselves with her cargo, but have carried 
ourselves to what part of the world we had pleased ; but 
when they came to talk to me of a march of two or three 
thousand miles on foot, of wandering in deserts, among 
lions and tigers, I confess my blood ran chill, and I used 
all the arguments I could to persuade them against it. 

But they were all positive, and I might as well have held 


my tongue ; so I submitted, and told them I would keep to 
our first law, to be governed by the majority, and we resolved 
upon our journey. The first thing we did was to take an 
observation, and see whereabouts in the world we were, 
which we did, and found we were in the latitude of 12 
degrees 35 minutes south of the line. The next thing was 
to look on the charts, and see the coast of the country we 
aimed at, which we found to be from 8 to 1 1 degrees south 
latitude, if we went for the coast of Angola, or in 12 to 19 
degrees north latitude, if we made for the river Nigre and 
the coast of Guinea. 

Our aim was for the coast of Angola, which, by the charts 
we had, lying very near the same latitude we were then in, 
our course thither was due west ; and as we were assured 
we should meet with rivers, we doubted not but that by 
their help we might ease our journey, especially if we could 
find means to cross the great lake, or inland of the sea, 
which the natives call Coalmucoa, out of which it is said 
the river Nile has its source or beginning ; but we 
reckoned without our host, as you will see in the sequel 
of our story. 

The next thing we had to consider was, how to carry our 
baggage, which we were first of all determined not to travel 
without ; neither, indeed, was it possible for us to do so, for 
even our ammunition, which was absolutely necessary to 
us, and on which our subsistence, I mean for food, as well 
as our defence against wild beasts and wild men, depended : 
I say, even our ammunition was a load too heavy for us to 
carry in a country where the heat was such that we should 
be load enough for ourselves. 

We inquired in the country, and found there was no 
beast of burthen known among them that is to say, 
neither horses or mules, or asses, camels, or dromedaries ; 


the only creature they had was a kind of buffalo, or tamo 
bull, such a one as we had killed ; and that some of these 
they had brought so to their hand that they taught them 
to go and come with their voices, as they called them to 
them, or sent them from them ; that they made them carry 
burthens ; and, particularly, that they could swim over 
rivers and lakes upon them, the creatures swimming very 
high and strong in the water. 

But we understood nothing of the management or guiding 
such a creature, or how to bind a burthen upon them, and 
this last part of our consultation puzzled us extremely. At 
last I proposed a method for them, which, after some con- 
sideration, they found very convenient ; and this was to 
quarrel with some of the negro natives, take ten or twelve 
of them prisoners, and, binding them as slaves, cause them 
to travel with us, and make them carry our baggage ; 
which I alleged would be convenient and useful many ways, 
as well to show us the way as to converse with other natives 
for us. 

This counsel was not accepted at first, but the natives 
soon gave them reason to approve it ; and also gave them an 
opportunity to put it in practice ; for, as our little traffic 
with the natives was hitherto upon the faith of their first 
kindness, we found some knavery among them at last ; for 
having bought some cattle of them for our toys, which, as I 
said, our cutler had contrived, one of our men differing with 
his chapman, truly they hulled him in their manner, and, 
keeping the things he had offered them for the cattle, made 
their fellows drive away the cattle before his face, and laugh 
at him ; our man crying out loud of this violence, and call- 
ing to some of us who were not far off, the negro he was 
dealing with threw a lance at him, which came so true, that, 
if he had not with great agility jumped aside, and held up 


his hand also to turn the lance as it came, it had struck 
through his body ; and, as it was, it wounded him in the 
arm ; at which, the man enraged, took up his fusee, and shot 
the negro through the heart. 

The others that were near him, and all those that were 
with us at a distance, were so terribly frightened ; first, at 
the flash of fire ; secondly, at the noise ; and thirdly, at 
seeing their countryman killed, that they stood like men 
stupid and amazed, at first, for some time ; but, after they 
were a little recovered from their fright, one of them, at a 
good distance from us, set up a sudden screaming noise, 
which, it seems, is the noise they make when they go to 
fight ; and all the rest, understanding what he meant, 
answered him, and run together to the place where he was, 
and we not knowing what it meant, stood still, looking 
upon one another like a parcel of fools. 

But we were presently undeceived ; for, in two or three 
minutes more, we heard the screaming roaring noise go on 
from one place to another, through all their little towns ; 
nay, even over the creek to the other side ; and, on a 
sudden, we saw a naked multitude running from all parts to 
the place where the first man began it, as to a rendezvous ; 
and, in less than an hour, I believe there was near five 
hundred of them gotten together, armed some with bows 
and arrows, but most with lances, which they threw at a 
good distance, so nicely, that they will strike a bird flying. 

We had but a very little time for consultation, for the 
multitude was increasing every moment ; and I verily 
believe, if we had stayed long, they would have been ten 
thousand together in a little time. We had nothing to do, 
therefore, but to fly to our ship or barque, where indeed we 
could have defended ourselves very well, or to advance and 
try what a volloy or two of small shot would do for us. 


We resolved immediately upon the latter, depending 
upon it, that the fire and terror of our shot would soon put 
them to flight ; so we drew up all in a line, and marched 
boldly up to them ; they stood ready to meet us, depending, 
I suppose, to destroy us all with their lances ; we halted, 
and, standing at a good distance from one another, to 
stretch our line as far as we could, we gave them a salute 
with our shot, which, besides what we wounded that we 
knew not of, knocked sixteen of them down upon the spot, 
and three more were so lamed, that they fell about twenty 
or thirty yards from them. 

As soon as we had fired, they set up the horridest yell, 
or howling, partly raised by those that were wounded, and 
partly by those that pitied and condoled the bodies they 
saw lie dead, that I never heard anything like it before or 

We stood stock still after we had fired, to load our guns 
again, and finding they did not stir from the place, we fired 
among them again ; we killed about nine of them at the 
second fire ; but as they did not stand so thick as before, 
all our men did not fire, seven of us being ordered to reserve 
our charge, and to advance as soon as the other had fired, 
while the rest loaded again ; of which I shall speak again 

As soon as we had fired the second volley, we shouted as 
loud as we could, and the seven men advanced upon them, 
and, coming about twenty yards nearer, fired again, and 
those that were behind having loaded again with all 
expedition, followed ; but when they saw us advance, they 
ran screaming away as if they were bewitched. 

When we came up to the field of battle, we saw a great 
number of bodies lying upon the ground, many more than 
we could suppose were killed or wounded ; nay, more than 


we had bullets in our pieces when we fired ; and we could 
not tell what to make of it ; but at length we found how it 
was viz., that they were frightened out of all manner of 
sense ; nay, I do believe several of those that were really 
dead were frightened to death, and had no wound about 

Of those that were thus frightened, as I have said, 
several of them, as they recovered themselves, came and 
worshipped us, taking us for gods or devils, I know not 
which, nor did it much matter to us some kneeling, some 
throwing themselves flat on the ground, made a thousand 
antic gestures, but all with tokens of the most profound 
submission. It presently came into my head that we might 
now, by the law of arms, take as many prisoners as we 
would, and make them travel with us, and carry our 
baggage. As soon as I proposed it, our men were all of 
my mind ; and, accordingly, we secured about sixty lusty 
young fellows, and let them know they must go with us, 
which they seemed very willing to do. But the next 
question we had among ourselves was, how we should 
do to trust them, for we found the people not like those 
of Madagascar, but fierce, revengeful, and treacherous, 
for which reason we were sure that we should have 
no service from them but that of mere slaves no 
subjection that would continue any longer than the fear of 
us was upon them, nor any labour but by violence. 

Before I go any farther, I must hint to the reader that, 
from this time forward, I began to enter a little more 
seriously into the circumstance I was in, and concerned 
myself more in the conduct of our affairs ; for, though 
my comrades were all older men, yet I began to find 
them void of counsel, or, as I now call it, presence 
of mind, when they came to the execution of anything. 


The first occasion I took to observe this was in their 
late engagement with the natives, when, though they 
had taken a good resolution to attack them, and fire 
upon them, yet, when they had fired the first time, 
and found that the negroes did not run, as they expected, 
their hearts began to fail, and I am persuaded, if their 
barque had been near hand, they would every man have 
run away. 

Upon this occasion I began to take upon me a little to 
hearten them up, and to call upon them to load again, 
and give them another volley, telling them that I would 
engage if they would be ruled by me, I'd make the 
negroes run fast enough. I found this heartened them, 
and, therefore, when they fired a second time, I desired 
them to reserve some of their shot to an attempt by itself, 
as I mentioned above. 

Having fired a second time, I was indeed forced to 
command, as I may call it. Now, seigniors, said I, let us 
give them a cheer. So I opened my throat, and shouted 
three times, as our English sailors do on like occasions. 
And now follow me, said I, to the seven that had not 
fired, and I'll warrant you we will make work with 
them ; and so it proved indeed, for, as soon as they saw 
us coming, away they ran, as above. 

From this day forward they would call me nothing 
but Seignior Capitanio ; but I told them I would not 
be called Seignior. Well, then, said the gunner, who 
spoke good English, you shall be called Captain Bob ; 
and so they gave me my title ever after. 

Nothing is more certain of the Portuguese than this : 
take them nationally or personally, if they are animated 
and heartened by anybody, to go before, and encourage 
them by example, they will behave well enough ; but 


if they have nothing but their own measures to follow, 
they sink immediately. These men had certainly fled 
from a parcel of naked savages, though, even by flying, 
they could not have saved their lives, if I had not 
shouted and hallooed, and rather made sport with the 
thing than a fight, to keep up their courage. 

Nor was there less need of it upon several occasions 
hereafter ; and I do confess I have often wondered how 
a number of men, who, when they came to the extremity, 
were so ill supported by their own spirit, had at first 
courage to propose and to undertake the most desperate 
and impracticable attempt that ever men went about in 
the world. 

There were indeed two or three indefatigable men 
among them, by whose courage and industry all the 
rest were upheld ; and indeed these two or three were 
the managers of them from the beginning that was 
the gunner and that cutler whom I call the artist, and 
the third, who was pretty well, though not like either of 
them, was one of the carpenters. These indeed were the 
life and soul of all the rest, and it was to their courage 
that all the rest owed the resolution they showed upon any 
occasion. But when those saw me take a little upon 
me, as above, they embraced me, and treated me with 
particular affection ever after. 

This gunner was an excellent mathematician, a good 
scholar, and a complete sailor ; and it was in conversing 
intimately with him that I learned afterwards the grounds 
of what knowledge I have since had in all the sciences 
useful for navigation, and particularly in the geographical 
part of knowledge. 

Even in our conversation, finding me eager to understand 
and learn, he laid the foundation of a general knowledge of 


things in my mind, gave me just ideas of the form of the 
earth and of the sea, the situation of countries, the course 
of rivers, the doctrine of the spheres, the motion of the 
stars ; and, in a word, taught me a kind of system of 
astronomy, which I afterwards improved. 

In an especial manner he filled my head with aspiring 
thoughts, and with an earnest desire after learning every- 
thing that could be taught me, convincing me that nothing 
could qualify me for great undertakings but a degree of 
learning superior to what was usual in the race of seamen ; 
he told me, that to be ignorant was to be certain of a mean 
station in the world, but that knowledge was the first step 
to preferment. He was always flattering me with my 
capacity to learn ; and though that fed my pride, yet, on 
the other hand, as I had a secret ambition, which just at 
that time fed itself in my mind, it prompted in me an 
insatiable thirst after learning in general, and I resolved, if 
ever I came back to Europe, and had anything left to 
purchase it, I would make myself master of all the parts of 
learning needful to the making of me a complete sailor ; 
but I was not so just to myself afterwards as to do it when 
I had an opportunity. 

But to return to our business : the gunner, when he saw 
the service I had done in the fight, and heard my proposal 
for keeping a number of prisoners for our march, and for 
carrying our baggage, turns to me before them all. Captain 
Bob, says he, I think you must be our leader, for all the 
success of this enterprise is owing to you. No, no, said I, 
do not compliment me; you shall be our Seignior Capitanio, 
you shall be general ; I am too young for it. So, in short, 
we all agreed he should be our leader; but he would not 
accept of it alone, but would have me joined with him ; and 
all the rest agreeing, I was obliged to comply. 


The first piece of service they put me upon in this new 
command was as difficult as any they could think of, and 
that was to manage the prisoners ; which, however, I cheer- 
fully undertook, as you shall hear presently; but the 
immediate consultation was yet of more consequence ; and 
that was, first, which way we should go ; and secondly, 
how to furnish ourselves for the voyage with provisions. 

There was, among the prisoners, one tall, well-shaped, 
handsome fellow, to whom the rest seemed to pay great 
respect, and who, as we understood afterwards, was the son 
of one of their kings ; his father was, as it seems, killed at 
our first volley, and he wounded with a shot in his arm, 
and with another just on one of his hips or haunches. The 
shot in his haunch being in a fleshy part, bled much, and he 
was half dead with the loss of blood. As to the shot in his 
arm, it had broke his wrist, and he was by both these 
wounds quite disabled, so that we were once going to turn 
him away, and let him die ; and, if we had, he would have 
died indeed in a few days more ; but as I found the man 
had some respect showed him, it presently occurred to my 
thoughts that we might bring him to be useful to us, and 
perhaps make him a kind of commander over them. 
So I caused our surgeon to take him in hand, and gave the 
poor wretch good words, that is to say, I spoke to him as 
well as I could, by signs, to make him understand that we 
would make him well again. 

This created a new awe in their minds of us, believing 
that, as we could kill at a distance by something invisible 
to them (for so our shot was, to be sure), so we could make 
them well again too. Upon this the young prince (for so 
we called him afterwards) called six or seven of the savages 
to him, and said something to them ; what it was we knew 
not, but immediately all the seven came to me, and kneeled 


down to me, holding up their hands, and making signs of 
entreaty, pointing to the place where one of those lay whom 
we had killed. 

It was a long time before I or any of us could understand 
them ; but one of them ran and lifted up a dead man, point- 
ing to his wound, which was in his eyes, for he was shot 
into the head at one of his eyes. Then another pointed to 
the surgeon, and at last we found it out, that the mean- 
ing was, that he should heal the prince's father too, who 
was dead, being shot through the head, as abova 

We presently took the hint, and would not say we could 
not do it, but let them know, the men that were killed were 
those that had first fallen upon us, and provoked us, and we 
would by no means make them alive .again; and that, if any 
other did so, we would kill them too, and never let them 
live any more ; but that if he (the prince) would be willing 
to go with us, and do as we should direct him, we would not 
let him die, and would make his arm well. Upon this, he 
bid his men go and fetch a long stick or staff, and lay on the 
ground. When they brought it, we saw it was an arrow; 
he took it with his left hand (for his other was lame with 
the wound), and, pointing up at the sun, broke the arrow in 
two, and set the point against his breast, and then gave it to 
me. This was, as I understood afterwards, wishing the sun, 
whom they worship, might shoot him into the breast with an 
arrow, if ever he failed to be my friend ; and giving the 
point of the arrow to me, was to be a testimony that I was 
the man he had sworn to ; and never was a Christian more 
punctual to an oath than he was to this, for he was a sworn 
servant to us for many a weary month after that. 

When I brought him to the surgeon, he immediately 
dressed the wound in his haunch or buttock, and found the 
bullet had only grazed upon the flesh, and passed, as it were, 


by it, but it was not lodged in the part; so that it was soon 
healed and well again ; but as to his arm, he found one of 
the bones broken, which are in the fore-part from the wrist 
to the elbow; and this he set, and splintered it up, and 
bound his arm in a sling, hanging it about his neck, and 
making signs to him that he should not stir it ; which he 
was so strict an observer of, that he set him down, and 
never moved one way or other, but as the surgeon gave him 

I took a great deal of pains to acquaint this negro what 
we intended to do, and what use we intended to make of his 
men ; and particularly to teach him the meaning of what 
we said, especially to teach him some words, such as yes 
and no, and what they meant ; and to inure him to our 
way of talking ; and he was very willing and apt to learn 
anything I taught him. 

It was easy to let him see that we intended to carry our 
provision with us from the first day ; but he made signs to 
us, to tell us we need not, for that we should find provision 
enough everywhere for forty days. It was very difficult 
for us to understand how he expressed forty ; for he knew 
no figures, but some words they used to one another that 
they understood it by. At last one of the negroes, ly his 
order, laid forty little stones one by another, to show us 
how many days we should travel, and find provisions 

Then I showed him our baggage, which was heavy, par- 
ticularly our powder, shot, lead, iron, carpenters' tools, 
seamen's instruments, cases of bottles, and other lumber. 
He took some of the things up in his hand to feel the 
weight, and shook his head at them ; so I told our people 
they must resolve to divide their things into small parcels, 
and make them portable ; and accordingly they did so, by 


which means we were fain to leave all our chests behind us, 
which were eleven in number. 

Then he made signs to us that he would procure some 
buffaloes, or young bulls, as I call them, to carry things 
for us, and made signs, too, that if we were weary, we 
might be carried too; but that we slighted, only were will- 
ing to have the creatures, because, at last, when they could 
serve us no further for carriage, we might eat them all up 
if we had any occasion for them. 

I then carried him to our barque, and showed him what 
things we had here ; he seemed amazed at the sight of our 
barque, having never seen anything of that kind before, for 
their boats are most wretched things, such as I never saw 
before, having no head or stern, and being made only of the 
skins of goats, sewed together, with dried guts of goats and 
sheep, and done over with a kind of slimy stuff like resin 
and oil, but of a most nauseous, odious smell ; and they are 
poor miserable things for boats, the worst that any part of 
the world ever saw ; a canoe is an excellent contrivance 
compared to them. 

But to return to our boat : we carried our new prince 
into it, and helped him over the side, because of his lame- 
ness. We made signs to him that his men must carry our 
goods for us, and showed him what we had ; he answered, 
Ce Seignior, or, Yes, sir (for we had taught him that word, 
and the meaning of it), and taking up a bundle, he made 
signs to us, that when his arm was well, he would carry 
some for us. 

I made signs again to tell him, that if he would make his 
men carry them we would not let him carry anything. We 
had secured all the prisoners in a narrow place, where we 
had bound them with mat cords, and set up stakes like a 
palisado round them : so, when we carried the prince on 


shore, we went with him to them, and made signs to him, 
to ask them if they were willing to go with us to the 
country of lions. Accordingly, he made a long speech to 
them, and we could understand by it that he told them 
if they were willing they must say Ce Seignior, telling 
them what it signified. They immediately answered, Ce 
Seignior, and clapped their hands, looking up to the sun, 
which, the prince signified to us, was swearing to be 
faithful. But as soon as they had said so one of them 
made a long speech to the prince ; and in it, we perceived 
by his gestures, which were very antic, that they desired 
something from us, and that they were in great concern 
about it. So I asked him, as well as I could, what it was 
they desired of us ; he told us by signs, that they desired 
we should clap our hands to the sun (that was to swear) 
that we would not kill them, that we would give them 
Chiaruck, that is to say, bread, would not starve them, and 
would not let the lions eat them. I told them we would 
promise all that; then he pointed to the sun, and clapped 
his hands, signing to me that I should do so too, which I 
did ; at which all the prisoners fell flat on the ground, and 
rising up again, made the oddest, wildest cries that ever 
I heard. 

I think it was the first time in my life that ever any 
religious thought affected me ; but I could not refrain some 
reflections, and almost tears, in considering how happy 
it was that I was not born among such creatures as 
these, and was not so stupidly ignorant and barbarous. 
But this soon went off again, and I was not troubled 
again with any qualms of that sort for a long time after. 

When this ceremony was over, our concern was to get 
some provisions, as well for the present subsistence of our 
prisoners as of ourselves ; and making signs to our prince 


that we were thinking upon that subject, he made signs to 
me that if I would let one of the prisoners go to his town 
he should bring provisions, and should bring some beasts to 
carry our baggage. I seemed loath to trust him, and sup- 
posing that he would run away, he made great signs of 
fidelity, and with his own hands tied a rope about his neck, 
offering me one end of it, intimating that I should hang 
him if the man did not come again. So I consented, and 
he gave him abundance of instructions, and sent him away, 
pointing to the light of the sun, which it seems was to tell 
him at what time he must be back. 

The fellow ran as if he was mad, and held it till he was 
quite out of sight, by which I supposed he had a great way 
to go. The next morning, about two hours before the time 
appointed, the black prince, for so I always called him, 
beckoning with his hand to me, and hallooing after his 
manner, desired me to come to him, which I did, when 
pointing to a little hill about two miles off, I saw plainly a 
little drove of cattle, and several people with them ; those 
he told me by signs were the man he had sent, and several 
more with him, and cattle for us. 

Accordingly, by the time appointed, he came quite to 
our huts, and brought with him a great many cows, young 
runts, about sixteen goats, and four young bulls, taught to 
carry burthens. 


THIS was a supply of provisions sufficient ; as for bread, we 
were obliged to shift with some roots which we had made 
use of before. We then began to consider of making some 
large bags like the soldiers' knapsacks, for their men to 


carry our baggage in, and to make it easy to them ; and the 
goats being killed, I ordered the skins to be spread in the 
sun, and they were as dry in two days as could be desired ; 
so we found means to make such little bags as we wanted ; 
and began to divide our baggage into them : when the 
black prince found what they were for, and how easy they 
were of carriage when we put them on, he smiled a little, 
and sent away the man again to fetch skins, and he brought 
two natives more with him, all loaded with skins better 
cured than ours, and of other kinds, such as we could not 
tell what names to give them. 

These two men brought the black prince two lances, of 
the sort they use in their fights, but finer than ordinary, 
being made of black smooth wood, as fine as ebony, and 
headed at the point with the end of a long tooth of some 
creature, we could not tell of what creature ; the head was 
so firm put on, and the tooth so strong, though no bigger 
than my thumb, and sharp at the end, that I never saw 
anything like it in any place in the world. 

The prince would not take them till I gave him leave, 
but made signs that they should give them to me : howevei', 
I gave him leave to take them himself, for I saw evident 
signs of an honourable just principle in him. 

We now prepared for our march, when the prince coming 
to me, and pointing towards the several quarters of the 
world, made signs to know which way we intended to go ; 
and when I showed him, pointing to the west, he presently 
let me know there was a great river a little further to the 
north, which was able to carry our barque many leagues 
into the country due west. I presently took the hint, and 
inquired for the mouth of the river, which I understood by 
him was above a day's march, and, by our estimation, wa 
found it about seven leagues further. I take this to be the 


great river marked by our chart-makers, at the northmost 
part of the coast of Mozambique, and called there 

Consulting thus with ourselves, we resolved to take the 
prince, and as many of the prisoners as we could stow in 
our frigate, and go about by the bay into the river ; and 
that eight of us, with our arms, should march by land, to 
meet them on the river side ; for the prince carrying us to 
a rising ground, had showed us the river very plain, a great 
way up the country ; and in one place it was not above six 
miles to it. 

It was my lot to march by land, and be captain of the 
whole caravan. I had eight of our men with me, and 
seven and thirty of our prisoners, without any baggage, for 
all our luggage was yet on board. We drove the young 
bulls with us ; nothing was ever so tame, so willing to work, 
or carry anything. The negroes would ride upon them 
four at a time, and they would go very willingly : they 
would eat out of our hand, lick our feet, and were as 
tractable as a dog. 

We drove with us six or seven cows for food : but our 
negroes knew nothing of curing the flesh by salting and 
drying it, till we showed them the way, and then they were 
mighty willing to do so as long as we had any salt to do it 
with, and to carry salt a great way too, after we found we 
should have no more. 

It was an easy march to the river side for us that went 
by land, and we came thither in a piece of a day, being, as 
above, no more than six English miles ; whereas it was no 
less than five days before they came to us by water, 
the wind in the bay having failed them, and the way, by 

* There is still a river and small town so marked, but the general 
description applies more to the Rufifi. 


reason of a great turn or reach in the river, being above 
fifty miles about 

We spent this time in a thing which the two strangers 
who brought the prince the two lances put into the head 
of the prisoners viz., to make bottles of the goats' skins to 
carry fresh water in, which it seems they knew we should 
come to want ; and the men did it so dexterously, having 
dried skins fetched them by those two men, that before our 
vessel came up they had every man a pouch like a bladder, 
to carry fresh water in, hanging over their shoulder by a 
thong made of other skins, about three inches broad, like 
the sling of a fusee. 

Our prince, to assure us of the fidelity of the men in this 
march, had ordered them to be tied two and two by the 
wrist, as we handcuff prisoners in England ; and made 
them so sensible of the reasonableness of it, that he made 
them do it themselves, appointing four of them to bind the 
rest; but we found them so honest, and particularly so 
obedient to him, that after we were gotten a little further 
from their own country, we set them at liberty, though, 
when he came to us, he would have them tied again, and 
they continued so for a good while. 

All the country on the bank of the river was a high land, 
no marshy swampy ground in it; the verdure good, and 
abundance of cattle feeding upon it wherever we went, 
or which way soever we looked ; there was not much wood, 
indeed, at least not near us ; but further up we saw oak, 
cedar, and pine trees, some of which were very large. 

The river was a fair open channel about as broad as the 
Thames, below Gravesend, and a strong tide of flood, which 
we found held us about sixty miles, the channel deep ; nor 
did we find any want of water for a great way. In short, 
we went merrily up the river with the flood and the wind 


blowing still fresh at E. and E.N.E. ; we stemmed the ebb 
easily also, especially while the river continued broad and 
deep ; but when we came past the swelling of the tide, and 
had the natural current of the river to go against, we found it 
too strong for us, and began to think of quitting our barque ; 
but the prince would by no means agree to that, for, find- 
ing we had on board pretty good store of roping made of 
mats and flags, which I described before, he ordered all the 
prisoners which were on shore to come and take hold of 
those ropes, and tow us along by the shore side ; and as we 
hoisted our sail too, to ease them, the men ran along with 
us at a very great rate. 

In this manner the river carried us up, by our computa- 
tion, near two hundred miles, and then it narrowed apace, 
and was not above as broad as the Thames is at Windsor, 
or thereabouts ; and after another day we came to a great 
waterfall or cataract, enough to frighten us, for I believe 
the whole body of water fell at once perpendicularly down 
a precipice above sixty feet high, which made noise enough 
to deprive men of their hearing, and we heard it above ten 
miles before we came to it. 

Here we were at a full stop, and now our prisoners went 
first on shore ; they had worked very hard, and very cheer- 
fully, relieving one another, those that were weary being 
taken into the barque. Had we had canoes, or any boats 
which might have been carried by men's strength, we might 
have gone two hundred miles more up this river in small 
boats ; but our great boat could go no further. 

All this way the country looked green and pleasant, and 
was full of cattle, and some people we saw, though not 
many ; but this we observed now, that the people did no 
more understand our prisoners here than we could under- 
stand them, being, it seems, of different nations, and of 


different speech. We had yet seen no wild beasts, or at least 
none that came very near us, except two days before we 
came at the waterfall, when we saw three of the most beauti- 
ful leopards that ever were seen, standing upon the bank of the 
river on the north side, our prisoners being all on the other 
side of the water. Our gunner espied them first, and ran to 
fetch his gun, putting a ball extraordinary in it ; and coming 
to me, Now, Captain Bob, says he, where is your prince ? 
So I called him out. Now, says he, tell your men not to be 
afraid ; tell them they shall see that thing in his hand 
speak in fire to one of those beasts, and make it kill itself. 

The poor negroes looked as if they had been all going to 
be killed, notwithstanding what their prince said to them, 
and stood staring to expect the issue, when on a sudden the 
gunner fired ; and, as he was a very good marksman, he 
shot the creature with two slugs just in the head. As soon 
as the leopard felt herself struck, she reared up on her two 
hind-legs, bolt upright, and throwing her fore-paws about 
in the air, fell backward, growling and struggling, and 
immediately died ; the other two, frightened with the fire 
and the noise, fled, and were out of sight in an instant. 

But the two frightened leopards wore not in half the 
consternation that our prisoners were : four or five of them 
fell down as if they had been shot, several others fell on 
their knees, and lifted up their hands to us whether to 
worship us or pray us not to kill them we did not know ; 
but we made signs to their prince to encourage them, which 
he did, but it was with much ado that he brought them to 
their sense. Nay, the prince, notwithstanding all that was 
said to prepare him for it, yet, when the piece went off, ho 
gave a start as if he would have leaped into the river. 

When we saw the creature killed, I had a great mind 
to have the skin of her, and made signs to the prince that 


he should send some of his men over to take the skin off. 
As soon as he spoke but a word, four of them that offered 
themselves were untied, and immediately they jumped into 
the river, and swam over, and went to work with him. 
The prince, having a knife that we gave him, made four 
wooden knives so clever that I never saw anything like 
them in my life ; and in less than an hour's time they 
brought me the skin of the leopard, which was a monstrous 
great one, for it was from the ears to the tail about seven 
feet, and near five feet broad on the back, and most admir- 
ably spotted all over. The skin of this leopard I brought 
to London many years after. 

We were now all upon a level as to our travelling, being 
unshipped, for our barque would swim no further, and she 
was too heavy to carry on our backs ; but as we found the 
course of the river went a great way further, we consulted 
our carpenters, whether we could not pull the barque in 
pieces, and make us three or four small boats to go on with. 
They told us we might do so, but it would be very long 
a-doing, and that, when we had done, we had neither pitch 
nor tar to make them sound to keep the water out, or nails 
to fasten the plank ; but one of them told us that, as soon 
as he could come at any large tree near the river, he would 
make us a canoe or two in a quarter of the time, and which 
would serve us as well for all the uses we could have any 
occasion for as a boat, and such that, if we came to any 
waterfalls, we might take them up, and carry them for a 
mile or two by land upon our shoulders. 

Upon this we gave over the thoughts of our frigate, and 
hauling her into a little cove or inlet, where a small brook 
came into the main river, we laid her up for those that 
came next, and marched forward. We spent indeed two 
days dividing our baggage, and loading our tame buffaloes 


and our negroes. Our powder and shot, which was the 
thing we were most careful of, we ordered thus : first, the 
powder we divided into little leather bags that is to say, 
bags of dried skins with the hair inward, that the powder 
might not grow damp ; and then we put those bags into 
other bags made of bullocks' skins, very thick and hard, 
with the hair outward, that no wet might come in ; and 
this succeeded so well, that in the greatest rains we had, 
whereof some were very violent and very long, we always 
kept our powder dry. Besides these bags, which held our 
chief magazine, we divided to every one a quarter of a 
pound of powder, and half a pound of shot, to carry always 
about us ; which, as it was enough for our present use, so 
we were willing to have no weight to carry more than was 
absolutely necessary, because of the heat. 

We kept still on the bank of the river, and for that 
reason had but very little communication with the people 
of the country ; for, having also our barque stored with 
plenty of provisions, we had no occasion to look abroad for 
a supply ; but now when we came to march on foot, we 
were obliged often to seek out for food. The first place we 
came to on the river that gave us any stop was a little 
negro town, containing about fifty huts, and there appeared 
about four hundred people, for they all came out to see us 
and wonder at us. When our negroes appeared the in- 
habitants began to fly to arms, thinking there had been 
enemies coming upon them ; but our negroes, though they 
could not speak their language, made signs to them that 
they had no weapons, and were tied two and two together 
as captives, and that there were people behind who came 
from the sun, and that could kill them all, and make them 
alive again if they pleased ; but that they would do 
them no hurt, and came with peace. As soon as they 


understood this they laid down their lances and bows and 
arrows, and came and stuck twelve large stakes in the 
ground as a token of peace, bowing themselves to us in 
token of submission. But as soon as they saw white men 
with beards that is to say, moustaches they ran screaming 
away, as in a fright. 

We kept at a distance from them, not to be too familiar; 
and when we did appear, it was but two or three of us at a 
time. But our prisoners made them understand that we 
required some provisions of them ; so they brought us some 
black cattle, for they have abundance of cows and buffaloes 
all over that side of the country, as also great numbers of 
deer. Our cutler, who had now a great stock of things of 
his handiwork, gave them some little knick-knacks, as plates 
of silver and of iron, cut diamond fashion, and cut into 
hearts and into rings, and they were mightily pleased. 
They also brought several fruits and roots, which we did 
not understand, but our negroes fed heartily on them, and 
after we had seen them eat them we did so too. 

Having stocked ourselves here with flesh and roots as 
much as we could well carry, we divided the burthens 
among our negroes, appointing about thirty to forty pounds' 
weight to a man, which we thought indeed was load enough 
in a hot country ; and the negroes did not at all repine at 
it, but would sometimes help one another when they began 
to be weary, which did happen now and then, though not 
often ; besides, as most of their luggage was our provision, 
it lightened every day, like -*93sop's basket of bread, till we 
came to get a recruit. Note, when we loaded them we 
untied their hands, and tied them two and two together by 
one foot. The third day of our march from this place, our 
chief carpenter desired us halt, and set up some huts, for 
he had found out some trees that he liked, and resolved to 


make us some canoes ; for, as he told me, he knew we 
should have marching enough on foot after we left the 
river, and he was resolved to go no further by land than 
needs must. 

We had no sooner given orders for our little camp, and 
given leave to our negroes to lay down their loads, but they 
fell to work to build our huts ; and though they were tied as 
above, yet they did it so nimbly as surprised us. Here we 
set some of the negroes quite at liberty, that is to say, with- 
out tying them, having the prince's word passed for their 
fidelity ; and some of these were ordered to help the 
carpenters, which they did very handily, with a little 
direction, and others were sent to see whether they could 
get any provision near hand ; but instead of provisions, 
three of them came in with two bows and arrows, and 
five lances. They could not easily make us understand 
how they came by them, only that they had surprised 
some negro women, who were in some huts, the men 
being from home, and they had found the lances and bows 
in the huts or houses, the women and children flying 
away at the sight of them, as from robbers. We seemed 
very angry at them, and made the prince ask them if 
they had not killed any of the women or children, making 
them believe that, if they had killed anybody, we would 
make them kill themselves too; but they protested their 
innocence, so we excused them. Then they brought us 
the bows and arrows and lances ; but, at a motion of their 
black prince, we gave them back the bows and arrows, and 
gave them leave to go out to see what they could kill for 
food ; and here we gave them the laws of arms viz., that if 
any men appeared to assault them or shoot at them, to offer 
any violence to them, they might kill them ; but that they 
should not offer to kill or hurt any that offered them peace, 


or laid down their weapons, nor any women or children, 
upon any occasion whatsoever. These were our articles of 

These two fellows had not been gone out above three or 
four hours, but one of them came running to us without his 
bows and arrows, hallooing and whooping a great while 
before he came at us, Okoamo, Okoamo, which, it seems, 
was Help, Help. The rest of the negroes rose up in a 
hurry, and by twos, as they could, ran forward towards 
their fellows, to know what the matter was. As for me, I 
did not understand it, nor any of our people ; the prince 
looked as if some thing unlucky had fallen out, and some 
of our men took up their arms to be ready on occasion. 
But the negroes soon discovered the thing ; for we saw four 
of them presently after coming along with a great load of 
meat upon their backs. The case was, that the two who 
went out with their bows and arrows, meeting with a great 
herd of deer in the plain, had been so nimble as to shoot 
three of them ; and then one of them came running to us 
for help to fetch them away. This was the first venison 
we had met with upon all our march, and we feasted upon 
it very plentifully ; and this was the first time we began to 
prevail with our prince to eat his meat dressed our way ; 
after which, his men were prevailed with by his example, 
but before that they ate most of the flesh they had quite 

We wished now we had brought some bows and arrows 
out with us, which we might have done ; and we began to 
have so much confidence in our negroes, and to be so 
familiar with them, that we oftentimes let them go, or the 
greatest part of them, untied, being well assured they 
would not leave us, and that they did not know what 
course to take without us; but one thing we resolved not 



to trust them with, and that was the charging our guns ; 
but they always believed our guns had some hoavcnly 
power in them, that would send forth fire and smoke, and 
speak with a dreadful noise, and kill at a distance whenever 
we bid them. 

In about eight days we finished three canoes, and in them 
we embarked our white men, and our baggage, with our 
prince, and some of the prisoners. We also found it needful 
to keep some of ourselves always on shore, not only to 
manage the negroes, but to defend them from enemies and 
wild beasts. Abundance of little incidents happened upon 
this march, which it is not possible to crowd into this 
account; particularly, we saw more wild beasts now than 
we did before, some elephants, and two or three lions ; 
none of which kinds we had seen any of before ; and we 
found our negroes were more afraid of them a great deal 
than we were ; principally because they had no bows and 
arrows, or lances, which were the particular weapons they 
were bred up to the exercise of. 

But we cured them of their fears, by being always ready 
with our fire-arms. However as we were willing to be 
sparing of our powder, and the killing any of the creatures 
now was no advantage to us, seeing their skins were too 
heavy for us to carry, and their flesh not good to eat, we 
resolved, therefore, to keep some of our pieces uncharged, 
and only primed ; and causing them to flash in the pan, the 
beasts, even the lions themselves, would always start and 
fly back when they saw it, and immediately march ofE 

We passed abundance of inhabitants upon this upper 
part of the river, and with this observation, that almost 
every ten miles we came to a several nation, and every 
several nation had a different speech, or else their speech 
had different dialects, so that they did not understand one 


another. They all abounded in cattle, especially on the 
river side ; and the eighth day of this second navigation 
we met with a little negro town where they had growing 
a sort of corn like rice, which eat very sweet ; and as we 
got soine of it of the people, we made very good cakes of 
bread of it, and, making a fire, baked them on the ground, 
after the fire was swept away, very well ; so that hitherto 
we had no want of provisions of any kind we could 

Our negroes towing our canoes, we travelled at a con- 
siderable rate, and by our own account could not go less 
than twenty or twenty-five English miles a-day, and the 
river continuing to be much at the same breadth, and very 
deep all the way, till on the tenth day we came to another 
cataract ; for a ridge of high hills crossing the whole 
channel of the river, the water came tumbling down the 
rocks from one stage to another in a strange manner ; so 
that it was a continued link of cataracts from one to 
another, in the manner of a cascade ; only that the falls 
were sometimes a quarter of a mile from one another, and 
the noise confused and frightful.* 

We thought our voyaging was at a full stop now ; but 
three of us, with a couple of our negroes, mounting the hills 
another way, to view the course of the river, we found a fair 
channel again after about half a mile's march, and that it 
was like to hold us a good way further. So we set all 
hands to work, unloaded our cargo, and hauled our canoes 
on shore to see if we could carry them. 

Upon examination, we found that they were very heavy ; 
but our carpenters spending but one day's work on them, 

* The Rufifi is as yet unexplored, so it cannot be said if these 
cataracts are as described. They, however, strongly resemble those 
of the Zambesi and Shire. 


hewed away so much of the timber from their outsides as 
reduced them very much, and yet they were as fit to swim 
as before. When this was done, ten men with poles took 
up one of the canoes, and made nothing to carry it. So we 
ordered twenty men to each canoe, that one ten might 
relieve another ; and thus we carried all our canoes, and 
launched them into the water again, and then fetched our 
luggage, and loaded it all again into the canoes, and all in 
an afternoon ; and the next morning early we moved 
forward again. When we had towed about four days more, 
our gunner, who was our pilot, began to observe that we did 
not keep our right course so exactly as we ought, the river 
winding away a little towards the north ; and gave us notice 
of it accordingly. However, we were not willing to lose the 
advantage of water-carriage, at least not till we were forced 
to it ; so we jogged on, and the river served us about three- 
score miles farther; but then we found it grew very small and 
shallow, having passed the mouths of several little brooks 
or rivulets which come into it ; and at length it became but 
a brook itself. 

We towed up as far as ever our boats would swim, and 
we went two days the further, having been about twelve 
days in this last part of the river, by lightening the boats, 
and taking our luggage out, which we made the negroes 
carry, being willing to ease ourselves as long as we could ; 
but, at the end of these two days, in short, there was not 
water enough to swim a London wherry. 

We now set forward wholly by land, and without any 
expectation of more water-carriage. All our concern for 
more water was, to be sure to have a supply for our drink- 
ing ; and, therefore, upon every hill that we came near we 
clambered up to the highest part, to see the country before 
us, and to make the best judgment we could which way to 


go, to keep the lowest grounds, and as near some stream of 
water as we could. 

The country held verdant, well grown with trees, and 
spread with rivers and brooks, and tolerably well with 
inhabitants, for about thirty days' march after our leaving 
the canoes, during which time things went pretty well with 
us ; we did not tie ourselves down when to march and 
when to halt, but ordered those things as our convenience, 
and the health and ease of our people, as well our servants 
as ourselves, required. 

About the middle of this march we came into a low and 
plain country, in which we perceived a greater number of 
inhabitants than in any other country we had gone through ; 
but that which was worse for us, we found them a fierce, 
barbarous, treacherous people, and who at first looked upon 
us as robbers, and gathered themselves in numbers to attack 

Our men were terrified at them at first, and began to dis- 
cover an unusual fear ; and even our black prince seemed 
in a great deal of confusion ; but I smiled at him, and show- 
ing him some of our guns, I asked him if he thought that 
which killed the spotted cat (for so they called the leopard 
in their language) could not make a thousand of those naked 
creatures die at one blow ; then he laughed, and said, yes, 
he believed it would. Well then, said I, tell your men not 
to be afraid of these people, for we shall soon give them a 
taste of what we can do if they pretend to meddle with us. 
However, we considered we were in the middle of a vast 
country, and we knew not what numbers of people and 
nations we might be surrounded with ; and, above all, we 
knew not how much we might stand in need of the friendship 
of these that we were now among; so we ordered the negroes 
to try all the methods they could to make them friends. 


Accordingly, the two men who had gotten bows and 
arrows, and two more, to whom we gave the prince's two 
fine lances, went foremost, with five more, having long poles 
in their hands, and after them ten of our men advanced 
toward the negro town that was next to us, and we all 
stood ready to succour them if there should be occasion. 

When they came pretty near their houses, our negroes 
hallooed in their screaming way, and called to them as loud 
as they could. Upon their calling, some of the men came 
out and answered, and immediately afterwards the whole 
town, men, women, and children appeared ; our negroes, 
with their long poles, went forward a little and stuck them 
all in the ground, and left them, which in their country was 
a signal of peace ; but the other did not understand the 
meaning of that. Then the two men with bows laid down 
their bows and arrows, went forward unarmed, and made 
signs of peace to them, which at last the other began to 
understand ; so two of their men laid down their bows and 
arrows, and came towards them. Our men made all the 
signs of friendship to them that they could think of, putting 
their hands up to their mouths as a sign that they wanted 
provisions to eat, and the other pretended to be pleased and 
friendly, and went back to their fellows, and talked with 
them awhile ; and they came forward again, and made signs 
that they would bring some provisions to them before the 
sun set ; and so our men came back again very well satisfied 
for that time. 

But an hour before sunset our men went to them ac;ain, 
just in the same posture as before, and they came according 
to their appointment, and brought deer's flesh, roots, and 
the same kind of corn like rice (which I mentioned above) ; 
and our negroes being furnished with such toys as our cutler 
had contrived, gave them some of them, which they seemed 


infinitely pleased with, and promised to bring more 
provisions the next day. 

Accordingly, the next day they came again, but our men 
perceived they were more in number by a great many than 
before ; however, having sent out ten men with fire-arms to 
stand ready, and our whole army being in view also, we 
were not much surprised ; nor was the treachery of the 
enemy so cunningly ordered as in other cases ; for they might 
have surrounded our negroes, which were but nine, under a 
show of peace ; but when they saw our men advance almost 
as far as the place where they were the day before, the 
rogues snatched up their bows and arrows, and came running 
upon our men like so many furies, at which our ten men 
called to the negroes to come back to them, which they did 
with speed enough, at the first word, and stood all behind 
our men. As they fled the other advanced and let fly near 
a hundred of their arrows at them, by which two of our 
negroes were wounded, and one we thought had been killed. 
When they came to the five poles that our men had stuck in 
the ground, they stood still awhile, and gathering about the 
poles, looked at them, and handled them, as wondering at 
what they meant. We then, who were drawn up behind all, 
sent one of our number to our ten men to bid them fire 
among them, while they stood so thick, and to put some 
small shot into their guns, besides the ordinary charge, and 
to tell them that we would be up with them immediately. 

Accordingly they made ready ; but by the time they were 
ready to fire the black army had left their wondering about 
the poles, and began fo stir as if they would come on, though 
seeing more men stand at some distance behind our negroes, 
they could not tell what to make of us ; but, if they did not 
understand us before, they understood us less afterwards ; 
for, as soon as ever our men found them to begin to move 


forsvard, they fired among the thickest of them, being about 
the distance of a hundred and twenty yards, as near as we 
could guess. 

It is impossible to express the fright, the screaming and 
yelling of those wretches, upon this first volley ; we killed 
six of them, and wounded eleven or twelve, I mean as we 
knew of : for, as they stood thick, and the small shot, as we 
called it, scattered among them, we had reason to believe 
we wounded more that stood farther off; for our small shot 
was made of bits of lead, and bits of iron, heads of nails, 
and such things as our diligent artificer, the cutler, helped 
us to. 

As to those that were killed and wounded, the other 
frightened creatures were under the greatest amazement in 
the world, to think what should hurt them ; for they could 
see nothing but holes made in their bodies, they knew not 
how. Then the tire and noise amazed all their women and 
children, and frightened them out of their wits, so that they 
ran staring and howling about like mad creatures. 

However, all this did not make them fly, which was what 
we wanted ; nor did we find any of them die as it were 
with fear, as at first ; so we resolved upon a second volley, 
and then to advance as we did before. Whereupon our 
reserved men advancing, we resolved to fire only three men 
at a timp, and move forward like an army firing in platoon : 
so, being all in line, we fired first three on the right, then 
three on the left, and so on ; and every time we killed or 
wounded some of them ; but still they did not fly, and yet 
they were so frightened, that they used none of their bows 
and arrows, nor of their lances ; and we thought their 
numbers increased upon our hands ; particularly we thought 
so by the noise ; so I called to our men to halt, and bid 
them pour in one whole volley, and then shout, as we did 


in our first fight, and so run in upon them and knock them 
down with our muskets. 

But they were too wise for that too for as soon as wo 
had fired a whole volley, and shouted, they all run away, 
men, women, and children, so fast, that in a few moments 
we could not see one creature of them, except some that 
were wounded and lame, who lay wallowing and screaming 
here and there upon the ground, as they happened to fall. 


UPON this we came up to the field of battle, where we found 
we had killed thirty-seven of them, among whom were 
three women, and had wounded about sixty-four, among 
whom were two women. By wounded, I mean such as were 
so maimed as not to be able to go away, and those our 
negroes killed afterwards in a cowardly manner, in cold 
blood, for which we were very angry, and threatened to 
make them go to them if they did so again. 

There was no great spoil to be got, for they were all stark 
naked as they came into the world, men and women 
together, some of them having feathers stuck in their hair, 
and others a kind of bracelets about their necks, but 
nothing else ; but our negroes got a booty here which wo 
were very glad of, and this was the bows and arrows of the 
vanquished, of which they found more than they knew 
what to do with, belonging to the killed and wounded men. 
These we ordered them to pick up, and they were very 
useful to us afterwards. After the fight, and our negroes 
had gotten bows and arrows, we sent them out in parties to 
see what they could get, and they got some provisions ; but, 
which was better than all the rest, they brought four moro 


young bulls, or buffaloes, that had been brought up to labour 
and to carry burthens. They knew them, it seems, by the 
burthens they had carried having galled their backs, for 
they have no saddles to cover them with in that country. 

Those creatures not only eased our negroes, but gave us 
an opportunity to carry more provisions ; and our negroes 
loaded them very hard at this place with flesh and roots, 
such as we wanted very much afterwards. 

In this town we found a very little young leopard, about 
two spans high ; it was exceeding tame, and purred like a 
cat when we stroked it with our hands, being, as I suppose, 
bred up among the negroes like a house dog. It was our 
black prince, it seems, who, making his tour among the 
abandoned houses or huts, found this creature there, and, 
making much of him, and giving a bit or two of flesh to 
him, the creature followed him like a dog. 

Among the negroes that were killed in this battle there 
was one who had a little thin bit or plate of gold, about as 
big as a sixpence, which hung by a little bit of a twisted 
gut upon his forehead, by which we supposed he was a man 
of some eminence among them ; but that was not 'all, for 
this bit of gold put us upon searching very narrowly if there 
was not more of it to be had thereabouts, but we found 
none at all. 

From this part of the country we went on for about 
fifteen days, and then found ourselves obliged to march up a 
high ridge of mountains, frightful to behold, and the first of 
the kind that we met with ; and having no guide but our 
little pocket -com pass, we had no advantage of information 
as to which was the best or the worst way, but were obliged 
to choose by what we saw, and shift as well as we could. 
We met with several nations of wild and naked people in 
the plain country before we came to those hills ; and we 


found them much more tractable and friendly than those 
devils we had been forced to fight with ; and though we 
could learn little from these people, yet we understood, by 
the signs they made, that there was a vast desert beyond 
those hills, and, as our negroes called them, much lion, much 
spotted cat (so they called the leopard) ; and they signed to 
us also that we must carry water with us. At the last of 
those nations we furnished ourselves with as much pro- 
visions as we could possibly carry, not knowing what we 
had to suffer, or what length we had to go ; and to make 
our way as familiar to us as possible, I proposed, that of 
the last inhabitants we could find, we should make some 
prisoners, and carry them with us for guides, over the 
desert, and to assist us in carrying provision, and perhaps 
in getting it too. The advice was too necessary to be 
slighted ; so, finding by our dumb signs to the inhabitants 
that there were some people that dwelt at the foot of the 
mountains, on the other side, before we came to the desert 
itself, we resolved to furnish ourselves with guides, by fair 
means or foul. 

Here, by a moderate computation, we concluded ourselves 
seven hundred miles from the sea-coast, where we began. 
Our black prince was this day set free from the sling his 
arm hung in, our surgeon having perfectly restored it, and 
he showed it to his own countrymen quite well, which made 
them greatly wonder. Also our two negroes began to re- 
cover, and their wounds to heal apace, for our surgeon was 
very skilful in managing their cure. 

Having, with infinite labour, mounted these hills, and 
corning to a view of the country beyond them, it was indeed 
enough to astonish as stout a heart as ever was created. It 
was a vast howling wilderness, not a tree, a river, or a 
green thing to be seen ; for as far as the eye could look, 


nothing but a scalding sand, which, as the wind blew, drove 
about in clouds, enough to overwhelm man and beast : nor 
could we see any end of it, either before us, which was our 
way, or to the right hand or left : so that truly our men 
began to be discouraged, and talked of going back again ; 
nor could we, indeed, think of venturing over such a horrid 
place as that before us, in which we saw nothing but present 

I was as much affected at the sight as any of them ; but, 
for all that, I could not bear the thoughts of going back 
again. I told them we had marched seven hundred miles 
of our way, and it would be worse than death to think of 
going back again ; and that, if they thought the desert was 
not passable, I thought we should rather change our course, 
and travel south till we came to the Cape of Good Hope, 
or north to the country that lay along the Nile, where, 
perhaps, we might find some way or other over to the west 
sea ; for sure all Africa was not a desert. 

Our gunner, who, as I said before, was our guide, as to 
the situation of places, told us that he could not tell what 
to say to going for the Cape ; for it was a monstrous length, 
being, from the place where we now were, not less than 
fifteen hundred miles; and, by his account, we were now 
come a third part of the way to the coast of Angola, where 
we should meet with the western ocean, and find ways 
enough for our escape home. On the other hand, he assured 
us, and showed us a map of it, that if we went northward, 
the western shore of Africa went out into the sea above a 
thousand miles west ; so that we should have so much, and 
more land to travel afterwards ; which land might, for aught 
we knew, be as wild, barren, and desert as this. And 

* This desert in this latitude is purely imaginary; but Defoe erred 
in company with the foremost geographers of his time. 


therefore, upon the whole, he proposed that we should 
attempt this desert, and perhaps we should not find it so 
long as we feared ; and, however, he proposed that we should 
see how far our provisions would carry us, and, in particular, 
our water ; and that we should venture no further than 
half so far as our water would last ; and if we found no end 
of the desert, we might come safely back again. 

This advice was so seasonable that all approved of it ; 
and, accordingly, we calculated that we were able to carry 
provisions for forty-two days, but that we could not carry 
water for above twenty days, though we were to suppose it 
to stink too before that time expired. So that we concluded 
that if we did not come at some water in ten days' time, we 
would return ; but if we found a supply of water, we could 
then travel twenty-one days, and, if we saw no end of the 
wilderness in that time, we would return also. 

With this regulation of our measures, we descended the 
mountains, and it was the second day before we quite 
reached the plain, where, however, to make us amends, we 
found a fine little rivulet of very good water, abundance of 
deer, a sort of creature like a hare, but not so nimble, and 
whose flesh we found very agreeable ; but we were deceived 
in our intelligence, for we found no people ; so we got no 
more prisoners to assist us in carrying our baggage. 

The infinite number of deer and other creatures which 
we saw here we found was occasioned by the neighbour- 
hood of the waste or desert, from whence they retired 
hither for food and refreshment. We stored ourselves 
here with flesh and roots of divers kinds, which our 
negroes understood better than we, and which served 
us for bread, and with as much water as (by the 
allowance of a quart a day to a man for our negroes, 
and three pints a day a man for ourselves, and three 


quarts a day each for our buffaloes) would serve us 
twenty days ; and thus loaden for a long, miserable march, 
we set forwards, being all sound in health, and very 
cheerful, but not alike strong for so great a fatigue, and, 
which was our grievance, were without a guide. 

In the very first entrance of the waste, we were 
exceedingly discouraged ; for we found the sand so deep, 
and it scalded our feet so much with the heat, that, after we 
had, as I may call it, waded rather than walked through 
it about seven or eight miles, we were all heartily tired and 
faint even the very negroes lay down and panted, like 
creatures that had been pushed beyond their strength. 

Here we found the difference of lodging greatly 
injurious to us, for, as before, we always made us huts 
to sleep under, which covered us from the night air, 
which is particularly unwholesome in those hot countries ; 
but we had here no shelter, no lodging, after so hard 
a march, for here were no trees no, not a shrub near 
us and, which was still more frightful, towards night 
we began to hear the wolves howl, the lions bellow, and 
a great many wild asses braying, and other ugly noises, 
which we did not understand. 

Upon this we reflected upon our indiscretion that 
we had not, at least, brought poles or stakes in our 
hands, with which we might have, -as it were, palisadoed 
ourselves in for the night, and so we might have slept 
secure, whatever other inconveniences we suffered. How- 
ever we found a way at last, to relieve ourselves a 
little. For, first, we set up the lances and bows we 
had, and endeavoured to bring the tops of them as 
near to one another as we could, and so hung our 
coats on the top of them, which made us a kind of 
sorry tent. The leopard's skin, and a few other skins 


we had put together, made us a tolerable covering, and 
thus we lay down to sleep, and slept very heartily too 
for the first night, setting, however, a good watch, 
being two of our own men with their fusees, whom we 
relieved in an hour at first, and two hours afterwards ; 
and it was very well we did this, for they found the 
wilderness swarmed with raging creatures of all kinds, 
some of which came directly up to the very enclosure 
of our tent. But our sentinels were ordered not to 
alarm us with firing in the night, but to flash in the 
pan at them, which they did, and found it effectual, 
for the creatures went off always as soon as they saw 
it, perhaps with some noise or howling, and pursued such 
other game as they were upon. 

If we were tired with the day's travel, we were all as 
much tired with the night's lodging : but our black 
prince told us in the morning he would give us some 
counsel, and indeed it was very good counsel. He told us 
we should be all killed, if we went on this journey, and 
through this desert, without some covering for us at night ; 
so he advised us to march back again to a little river side, 
where we lay the night before, and stay there till we could 
make us houses, as he called them, to carry with us to lodge 
in every night. As he began a little to understand our 
speech, and we very well to understand his signs, we easily 
knew what he meant, and that we should there make mats 
(for we remembered that we saw a great deal of matting, 
or bass there, that the natives made mats of) ; I say, 
that we should make large mats there for covering our 
huts or tents to lodge in at night. 

We all approved this advice, and immediately resolved to 
go back that one day's journey, resolving, though we carried 
less provisions, we would carry mats with us, to cover us in 


the night. Some of the nimblest of us got back to the river 
with more ease than we had travelled it but the day before ; 
but, as we were not in haste, the rest made a halt, 
encamped another night, and came to us the next day. 

In our return of this day's journey, our men, that made 
two days of it, met with a very surprising thing, that gave 
them some reason to be careful how they parted company 
again. The case was this. The second day in the morning, 
before they had gone half a mile, looking behind them, they 
saw a vast cloud of sand or dust rise in the air, as we see 
sometimes in the roads in summer, when it is very dusty, 
and a large drove of cattle are coming, only very much 
greater ; and they could easily perceive that it came after 
them ; and it came on faster than they went from it. The 
cloud of sand was so great that they could not see what it 
was that raised it ; and concluded that it was some army of 
enemies that pursued them ; but then considering that they 
came from the vast uninhabited wilderness, they knew it 
was impossible any nation or people that way should have 
intelligence of them, or the way of their march ; and there- 
fore, if it was an army, it must be of such as they were 
travelling that way by accident. On the other hand, as 
they knew that there were no horse in the country, and 
that they came on so fast, they concluded that it must be 
some vast collection of wild beasts, perhaps making to the 
hill country for food or water, and that they should be all 
devoured or trampled under foot by their multitude. 

Upon this thought they very prudently observed which 
way the cloud seemed to point, and they turned a little out 
of the way to the north, supposing it might pass by them. 
When they were about a quarter of a mile they halted to 
see what it might be. One of the negroes, a nimbler fellow 
than the rest, went back a little, and came in a few minutes, 


running as fast as the heavy sand would allow ; and by 
signs gave them to know that it was a great herd or drove 
of elephants. 

As it was a sight our men had never seen, they were 
desirous to see it, and yet a little uneasy at the danger too ; 
for though an elephant is a heavy, unwieldy creature, yet 
in the deep sand, which was nothing at all to them, they 
marched at a great rate, and would soon have tired our 
people, if they had had far to go, and had been pursued by 

Our gunner was with them, and had a great mind to 
have gone close up to one of the outermost of them, and to 
have clapped his piece to his ear, and to have fired into 
him, because he had been told no shot would penetrate 
them ; but they all dissuaded him, lest, upon the noise, 
they should all turn upon and pursue us : so he was 
reasoned out of it, and let them pass, which, in our people's 
circumstances, was certainly the right way. 

They were between twenty and thirty in number, but 
prodigious great ones ; and though they often showed our 
men that they saw them, yet they did not turn out of their 
way, or take any other notice of them, than, as we may 
say, just to look at them. We that were before saw the 
cloud of dust they raised, but we thought it had been our 
own caravan, and so took no notice ; but as they bent their 
course one point of the compass, or thereabouts, to the 
southward of the east, and we went due east, they passed 
by us at some little distance ; so that we did not see them, 
or know anything of them, till evening, when our men 
came to us, and gave us this account of them. However, 
this was a useful experiment for our future conduct in 
passing the desert, as you shall hear in its place. 

We were now upon our work, and our black prince was 



head surveyor, for he was an excellent mat-maker himself, 
and all his men understood it ; so that they soon made us 
near a hundred mats ; and as every man, I mean of the 
negroes, carried one, it was no manner of load, and we did 
not carry an ounce of provisions the less. The greatest 
burthen was to carry six long poles, besides some shorter 
stakes ; but the negroes made an advantage of that, for 
carrying them between two, they made the luggage of 
provisions which they had to carry so much the lighter, 
binding it upon two poles, and made three couple of them. 
As soon as we saw this we made a little advantage of it 
too ; for having three or four bags, called bottles (I mean 
skins or bladders to carry water), more than the men could 
carry, we got them filled, and carried them this way, which 
was a day's water and more, for our journey. 

Having now ended our work, made our mats, and fully 
recruited our stores of things necessary, and having made 
us abundance of small ropes and matting for ordinary use, 
as we might have occasion, we set forward again, having 
interrupted our journey eight days in all, upon this affair. 
To our great comfort, the night before we set out there fell 
a very violent shower of rain, the effects of which we found 
in the sand ; though the one day dried the surface as much 
as before, yet it was harder at bottom, not so heavy, and was 
cooler to our feet, by which means we marched, as we 
reckoned, about fourteen miles instead of seven, and with 
much more ease. 

When we came to encamp we had all things ready, for 
we had fitted our tent, and set it up for trial, where we 
made it; so that, in less than an hour, we had a large tent 
raised, with an inner and outer apartment, and two 
entrances. In one we lay ourselves, in the other our negroes, 
having light pleasant mats over us, and others at the same 



time under us. Also, we had a little place without all for 
our buffaloes, for they deserved our care, being very useful 
to us, besides carrying forage and water for themselves. 
Their forage was a root, which our black prince directed us 
to find, not much unlike a parsnip, very moist and nourish- 
ing, of which there was plenty wherever we came, this 
horrid desert excepted. 

When we came the next morning to decamp, our negroes 
took down the tent, and pulled up the stakes ; and all was 
in motion in as little time as it was set up. In this 
posture we marched eight days, and yet could see no end, 
no change of our prospect, but all looking as wild and 
dismal as at the beginning. If there was any alteration, it 
was that the sand was nowhere so deep and heavy as it 
was the first three days. This we thought might be be- 
cause, for six months of the year, the winds blowing west 
(as for the other six they blew constantly east), the sand 
was driven violently to the side of the desert where we set 
out, where the mountains lying very high, the easterly 
monsoons, when they blew, had not the same power to 
drive it back again ; and this was confirmed by our finding 
the like depth of sand on the farthest extent of the desert 
to the west. 

It was the ninth day of our travel in this wilderness 
when we came to the view of a great lake of water ; and 
you may be sure this was a particular satisfaction to us, 
because we had not water left for above two or three days 
more, at our shortest allowance ; I mean, allowing water 
for our return, if we had been put to the necessity of it. 
Our water had served us two days longer 1 than expected, 
our buffaloes having found, for two or three days, a kind of 
herb like a broad flat thistle, though without any prickle, 
spreading on the ground, and growing in the sand, which 


they eat freely of, and which supplied them for drink 
as well as forage. 

The next day, which was the tenth from our setting out, 
we came to the edge of this lake, and, happily for us, we 
came to it at the south point of it ; so we passed by it, and 
travelled three days by the side of it, which was a great 
comfort to us, because it lightened our burthen, there 
being no need to carry water when we had it in view. 
And yet, though here was so much water, we found but 
very little alteration in the desert; no trees, no grass or 
herbage, except that thistle, as I called it, and two or 
three more plants, which we did not understand, of which 
the desert began to be pretty full. 

But as we were refreshed with the neighbourhood of this 
lake of water, so we were now gotten among a prodigious 
number of ravenous inhabitants, the like whereof, it is most 
certain, the eye of man never saw : for, as I firmly believe, 
that never man, nor any body of men, passed this desert 
since the flood, so I believe there is not the like collection 
of fierce, ravenous, and devouring creatures in the world ; 
I mean, not in any particular place. 

For a day's journey before we came to this lake, and all 
the three days we were passing by it, and for six or seven 
days' march after it, the ground was scattered with elephants' 
teeth in such a number as is incredible ; and, as some of 
them may have lain there for some hundreds of years, so, 
seeing the substance of them scarce ever decays, they may 
lie there, for ought I know, to the end of time. The size of 
some of them is, it seems, to those to whom I have reported 
it, as incredible as the number ; and I can assure you there 
were several so heavy as the strongest man among us could 
not lift. As to number, I question not there are enough to 
load a thousand sail of the biggest ships in the world, by 


which I may be understood to mean that the quantity is not 
to be conceived of ; seeing that as they lasted in view for 
above eighty miles travelling, so they might continue as far 
to the right hand, and to the left as far, and many times as 
far, for aught we knew ; for it seems the number of elephants 
hereabouts is prodigiously great. In one place in particular 
we saw the head of an elephant, with several teeth in it, but 
one of the biggest that ever I saw ; the flesh was consumed 
to be sure many hundred years before, and all the other 
bones ; but three of our strongest men could not lift this 
skull and teeth ; the great tooth, I believe, weighed at least 
three hundredweight ; and this was particularly remarkable 
to me, for I observed the whole skull was as good ivory as 
the teeth ;* and, I believe, altogether weighed at least six 
hundredweight ; and though I do not know but, by the 
same rule, all the bones of the elephant may be ivory, yet I 
think there is a just objection against it, from the example 
before me, that then all the other bones of this elephant 
would have been there as well as the head. 

I proposed to our gunner, that, seeing we had travelled 
now fourteen days without intermission, and that we had 
water here for our refreshment, and no want of food yet 
nor any fear of it, we should rest our people a little, and 
see, at the same time, if, perhaps, we might kill some 
creatures that were proper for food. The gunner, who had 
more forecast of that kind than I had, agreed to the pro- 
posal, and added, why might we not try to catch some fish 
out of the lake < \ The first thing we had before us was to 
try if we could make any hooks, and this indeed put our 
artificer to his trumps ; however, with some labour and 
difficulty, he did it, and we catched fresh fish of several 
kinds. How they came there none but He that made the 
* A traveller's tale ! 


lake, and all the world, knows ; for, to be sure, no human 
hands ever put any in there, or pulled any out before. 

We not only catched enough for our present refreshment, 
but we dried several large fishes, of kinds which I cannot 
describe, in the sun, by which we lengthened out our pro- 
visions considerably ; for the heat of the sun dried them so 
effectually without salt that they were perfectly cured, dry, 
and hard in one day's time. 

We rested ourselves here five days ; during which time 
we had abundance of pleasant adventures with the wild 
creatures, too many to relate. One of them was very par- 
ticular, which was a chase between a she-lion, or lioness, 
and a large deer ; and, though the deer is naturally a very 
nimble creature, and she flew by us like the wind, having, 
perhaps, about three hundred yards the start of the lion, 
yet we found the lion, by her strength, and the goodness of 
her lungs, got ground of her. They passed by us within 
about a quarter of a mile, and we had a view of them a 
great way, when, having given them over, we were sur- 
prised about an hour after to see them come thundering 
back again on the other side of us, and then the lion was 
within thirty or forty yards of her ; and both straining to 
the extremity of their speed, when the deer, coming to the 
lake, plunged into the water, and swam for her life, as she 
had before run for it. 

The lioness plunged in after her, and swam a little way, 
but came back again ; and, when she was got upon the land, 
she set up the most hideous roar that ever I heard in my 
life, as if done in the rage of having lost her prey. 

We walked out morning and evening constantly ; the 
middle of the day we refreshed ourselves under our tent ; 
but one morning early we saw another chase, which more 
nearly concerned us than the other ; for our black prince, 


walking by the side of the lake, was set upon by a vast 
great crocodile, which came out of the lake upon him ; and 
though he was very light of foot, yet it was as much as he 
could do to get away ; he fled amain to us, and the truth is 
we did not know what to do, for we were told no bullet 
would enter her ; and we found it so at first, for though 
three of our men fired at her, yet she did not mind them ; 
but my friend the gunner, a venturous fellow, of a bold 
heart, and great presence of mind, went up so near as to 
thrust the muzzle of his piece into her mouth, and fired, but 
let his piece fall, and ran for it the very moment he had 
fired it ; the creature raged a great while, and spent its 
fury upon the gun, making marks on the very iron with her 
teeth, but after some time fainted and died. 

Our negroes spread the banks of the lake all this while 
for game, and at length killed us three deer, one of them 
very large, the other two very small. There was water- 
fowl also in the lake, but we never came near enough to 
them to shoot any ; and, as for the desert, we saw no 
fowls anywhere in it, but at the lake. 

We likewise killed two or three civet cats ; but their 
flesh is the worst of carrion. We saw abundance of 
elephants at a distance, and observed they always go in 
very good company that is to say, abundance of them 
together, and always extended in a fair line of battle ; and 
this, they say, is the way they defend themselves from their 
enemies ; for, if lions or tigers, wolves, or any creatures, 
attack them, they being drawn up in a line, sometimes 
reaching five or six miles in length, whatever comes in their 
way is sure to be trod under foot, or beaten in pieces with 
their trunks, or lifted up in the air with their trunks : so 
that if a hundred lions or tigers were coming along, if they 
meet a line of elephants, they will always fly back till they 


see room to pass by to the right hand or to the left ; and if 
they did not, it would be impossible for one of them to 
escape ; for the elephant, though a heavy creature, is yet so 
dexterous and nimble with his trunk, that he will not fail 
to lift up the heaviest lion, or any other wild creature, and 
throw him up in the air quite over his back, and then 
trample him to death with his feet We saw several lines 
of battle thus ; we saw one so long, that indeed there was 
no end of it to be seen, and, I believe, there might be two 
thousand elephants in a row or line. They are not beasts 
of prey, but live upon the herbage of the field, as an ox 
does ; and it is said, that though they are so great a 
creature, yet that a smaller quantity of forage supplies one 
of them than will suffice a horse. 

The numbers of this kind of creature that are in those 
parts are inconceivable, as may be gathered from the pro- 
digious quantity of teeth, which, as I said, we saw in this 
vast desert ; and indeed we saw a hundred of them to one 
of any other kinds. 

One evening we were very much surprised ; we were 
most of us laid down on our mats to sleep, when our watch 
came running in among us, being frightened with the 
sudden roaring of some lions just by them, which, it seems, 
they had not seen, the night being dark, till they were just 
upon them. There was, as it proved, an old lion and his 
whole family, for there was the lioness and three young 
lions, besides the old king, who was a monstrous great one : 
one of the young ones, who were good, large, well-grown 
ones too, leaped up upon one of our negroes, who stood 
sentinel, before he saw him, at which he was heartily 
frightened, cried out, and ran into the tent : our other man, 
who had a gun, had not presence of mind at first to shoot 
him, but struck him with the butt-end of his piece, which 


made him whine a little, and then growl at him fearfully ; 
but the fellow retired, and, we being all alarmed, three of 
our men snatched up their guns, ran to the tent door, where 
they saw the great old lion by the fire of his eyes, and first 
fired at him, but, we supposed, missed him, or at least did 
not kill him ; for they went all off, but raised a most 
hideous roar, which, as if they had called for help, brought 
down a prodigious number of lions, and other furious 
creatures, we know not what, about them, for we could not 
see them ; but there was a noise and yelling, and howling, 
and all sort of such wilderness music on every side of us, as 
if all the beasts of the desert were assembled to devour us. 

We asked our black prince what we should do with them. 
Me go, says he, and fright them all. So he snatches up 
two or three of the worst of our mats, and, getting one of 
our men to strike some fire, he hangs the mat up at the end 
of a pole, and set it on fire, and it blazed abroad a good 
while, at which the creatures all moved off, for we heard 
them roar, and make their bellowing noise at a great 
distance. Well, says our gunner, if that will do, we need 
not burn our mats, which are our beds to lay under us, and 
our tilting to cover us. Let me alone, says he. So he 
comes back into our tent, and falls to making some artificial 
fire-works, and the like ; and he gave our sentinels some to 
be ready at hand upon occasion, and particularly he placed 
a great piece of wildfire upon the same pole that the mat 
had been tied to, and set it on fire, and that burnt there so 
long that all the wild creatures left us for that time. 

However, we began to be weary of such company, and, 
to get rid of them, we set forward again two days sooner 
than we intended. We found now that, though the desert 
did not end, nor could we see any appearance of it, yet that 
the earth was pretty full of green stuff of one sort or 


another, so that our cattle had no want ; and, secondly, 
that there were several little rivers which ran into the lake, 
and, so long as the country continued low, we found water 
sufficient, which eased us very much in our carriage, and 
we went on still sixteen days more without yet coining to 
any appearance of better soil. After this we found the 
country rise a little, and by that we perceived that the 
water would fail us, so, for fear of the worst, we filled our 
bladder bottles with water. We found the country rising 
gradually thus for three days continually, when, on the 
sudden, we perceived, that though we had mounted up 
insensibly, yet that we were on the top of a very high ridge 
of hills, though not such as at first. 


WHEN we came to look down on the other side of the hills, 
we saw, to the great joy of all our hearts, that the desert 
was at an end ; that the country was clothed in green, 
abundance of trees, and a large river; and we made no 
doubt but that we should find people and cattle also. And 
here, by our gunner's account, who kept our computations, 
we had marched about four hundred miles over this dismal 
place of horror, having been four-and-thirty days a-doing of 
it, and, consequently, were come about eleven hundred miles 
of our journey. 

We would willingly have descended the hills that night, 
but it was too late. The next morning we saw everything 
more plain, and rested ourselves under the shade of some 
trees, which were now the most refreshing things imaginable 
to us, who had been scorched above a month without a tree 
to cover us. We found the country here very pleasant, 


especially considering that we came from ; and we killed 
some deer here also, which we found very frequent under 
the cover of the woods. Also we killed a creature like a 
goat, whose flesh was very good to eat, but it was no goat. 
We found also a great number of fowls, like partridge, but 
something smaller, and were very tame ; so that we lived 
here very well, but found no people at least, none that 
would be seen no, not for several days' journey ; and, to 
allay our joy, we were almost every night disturbed with 
lions and tigers. Elephants we saw none here. 

In three days' march we came to a river, which we saw 
from the hills, and which we called the Golden river, and 
we found it ran northward, which was the first stream we 
had met with that did so. It ran with a very rapid cur- 
rent, and our gunner, pulling out his map, assured me that 
this was either the river Nile, or ran into the great lake 
out of which the river Nile was said to take its beginning ; 
and he brought out his charts and maps, which, by his 
instruction, I began to understand very well, and told me 
he would convince me of it, and indeed he seemed to make 
it so plain to me that I was of the same opinion. 

But I did not enter into the gunner's reason for this 
inquiry not in the least till he went on with it further, 
and stated it thus : If this is the river Nile, why should 
we not build some more canoes, and go down this stream, 
rather than to expose ourselves to any more deserts and 
scorching sands in quest of the sea, which, when we are 
come to, we shall be as much at a loss how to get home as 
we were at Madagascar. 

The argument was good had there been no objections in the 
way of a kind which none of us were capable of answering ; 
but, upon the whole, it was an undertaking of such a 
nature that every one of us thought it impracticable, and 


that upon several accounts ; and our surgeon, who was 
himself a good scholar, and a man of reading, though not 
acquainted with the business of sailing, opposed it, and 
some of his reasons, I remember, were such of these first, 
the length of the way, which both he and the gunner 
allowed, by the course of the water and turnings of the 
river, would be at least four thousand miles ; secondly, the 
innumerable crocodiles in the river, which we should never 
be able to escape ; thirdly, the dreadful deserts in the way ; 
and, lastly, the approaching rainy season, in which the 
streams of the Nile would be so furious, and rise so high, 
spreading far and wide over all the plain country, that we 
should never be able to know when we were in the channel 
of the river and when not, and should certainly be cast 
away, overset, or run aground so often that it would be 
impossible to proceed by a river so excessively dangerous. 

This last reason he made so plain to us, that we began to 
be sensible of it ourselves ; so that we agreed to lay that 
thought aside, and proceed in our first course westwards 
towards the sea : but, as if we had been loath to depart, we 
continued, by way of refreshing ourselves, to loiter two clays 
upon this river, in which time our black prince, who de- 
lighted much in wandering up and down, came one evening, 
and brought us several little bits of something, he knew not 
what; but he found it felt heavy, and looked well, and 
showed it to me, as what he thought was some rarity. I 
took not much notice of it to him, but stepping out and 
calling the gunner to me, I showed it to him, and toM him 
what I thought viz., that it was certainly gold : he agreed 
with me in that, and also in what followed, that we would 
take the black prince out with us the next day, and make 
him show us where he found it; that, if there was any 
quantity to be found, we would tell our company of it ; but, 


if there was but little, we would keep counsel, and have it 
to ourselves. 

But we forgot to engage the prince in the secret, who 
innocently told so much to all the rest, as that they guessed 
what it was, and came to us to see : when we found it was 
public, we were more concerned to prevent their suspecting 
that we had any design to conceal it, and openly telling our 
thoughts of it, we called our artificer, who agreed presently 
that it was gold ; so I proposed that we should all go with 
the prince to the place where he found it, and, if any 
quantity was to be had, we would lie here some time, and 
see what we could make of it. 

Accordingly, we went every man of us, for no man was 
willing to be left behind in a discovery of such a nature. 
When we came to the place, we found it was on the west 
side of the river, not in the main river, but in another small 
river or stream which came from the west, and ran into the 
other at that place. We fell to raking in the sand, and 
washing it in our hands, and we seldom took up a handful 
of sand but we washed some little round lumps as big as a 
pin's head, or sometimes as big as a grape-stone, into our 
hands, and we found, in two or three hours' time, that 
every one had got some, so we agreed to leave off, and go to 

While we were eating, it came into my thoughts that 
while we worked at this rate in a thing of such nicety and 
consequence, it was ten to one if the gold, which was the 
makebate of the world, did not, first or last, set us together 
by the ears, to break our good articles and our understand- 
ing one among another, and perhaps cause us to part com- 
panies, or worse ; I therefore told them, that I was indeed 
the youngest man in the company, but, as they had always 
allowed me to give my opinion in things, and had been 


sometimes pleased to follow my advice, so I had something 
to propose now which I thought would be for all our 
advantages, and I believed they would all like it very well. 
I told them we were in a country where we all knew there 
was a great deal of gold, and that all the world sent ships 
thither to get it : that we did not indeed know where it 
was, and so we might get a great deal, or a little, we did 
not know whether ; but I offered it to them to consider, 
whether it would not be the best way for us, and to pre- 
serve the good harmony and friendship that had been 
always kept among us, and which was so absolutely neces- 
sary to our safety, that what we found should be brought 
together to one common stock, and be equally divided at 
last, rather than to run the hazard of any difference which 
might happen among us, from anyone's having found more 
or less than another. I told them that, if we were all upon 
one bottom, we should all apply ourselves heartily to the 
work ; and, besides that, we might then set our negroes 
all to work for us, and receive equally the fruit of their 
labour and of our own, and being all exactly alike sharers, 
there could be no just cause of quarrel or disgust among us. 
They all approved the proposal, and every one jointly 
swore, and gave their hands to one another, that they would 
not conceal the least grain of gold from the rest ; and con- 
sented that, if any one or more should be found to conceal 
any, all that he had should be taken from him, and divided 
among the rest ; and one thing more was added to it by our 
gunner, from considerations equally good and just, that, if 
any one of us, by any play, bet, game, or wager, won any 
money or gold, or the value of any, from another, during our 
whole voyage, till our return quite to Portugal, he should be 
obliged by us all to restore it again, on the penalty of being 
disarmed, and turned out of the company, and of having no 


relief from us on any account whatsoever. This was to 
prevent wagering and playing for money, which our men 
were apt to do by several games, though they had neither 
cards nor dice. 

Having made this wholesome agreement, we went cheer- 
fully to work, and showed our negroes how to work for us ; 
and, working up the stream on both sides, and in the 
bottom of the river, we spent about three weeks' time 
dabbling in the water ; by which time, as it lay all in our 
way, we had been gone about six miles, and not more ; and 
still the higher we went, the more gold we found ; till at 
last, having passed by the side of a hill, we perceived on a 
sudden that the gold stopped, and that there was not a bit 
taken up beyond that place : it presently occurred to my 
mind that it must then be from the side of that little hill 
that all the gold we found was worked down. 

Upon this we went back to the hill, and fell to work with 
that. We found the earth loose, and of yellowish loamy 
colour, and in some places a white hard kind of stone, 
which, in describing since to some of our artists, they tell 
me was the spar which is found by ore, and surrounds it in 
the mine. However, if it had been all gold, we had no 
instrument to force it out ; so we passed that : but scratch- 
ing into the loose earth with our fingers, we came to a 
surprising place, where the earth, for the quantity of two 
bushels, I believe, or thereabouts, crumbled down with little 
more than touching it, and apparently showed us that there 
was a great deal of gold in it. We took it all carefully up, 
and, washing it in the water, the loamy earth washed away, 
and left the gold dust free in our hands ; and that which 
was more remarkable, was, that when this loose earth was 
all taken away, and we came to the rock or hard stone, 
there was not a grain of gold more to be found. 


At night we came all together to see what we had got ; 
and it appeared we had found, in that day's heap of earth, 
about fifty pound weight of gold dust, and about thirty-four 
pound more in all the rest of our works in the river. 

It was a happy kind of disappointment to us that we 
found a full stop put to our work ; for, had the quantity of 
gold been ever so small, yet, had any at all come, I do not 
know when we should have given over ; for, having rum- 
maged this place, and not finding the least grain of gold in 
any other place, or in any of the earth there, except in that 
loose parcel, we went quite back down the small river again, 
working it over and over again, as long as we- could find 
anything, how small soever ; and we did get six or seven 
pound more the second time. Then we went into the first 
river, and tried it up the stream and down the stream, on 
the one side and on the other. Up the stream we found 
nothing, no, not a grain ; down the stream we found very 
little, not above the quantity of half an ounce in two miles' 
working; so back we came again to the Golden river, as we 
justly called it, and worked it up the stream and down the 
stream twice more apiece, and every time we found some 
gold, and perhaps might have done so if we had stayed there 
till this time ; but the quantity was at last so small, and the 
work so much the harder, that we agreed by consent to give 
it over, lest we should fatigue ourselves and our negroes so 
as to be quite unfit for our journey. When we had brought 
all our purchase together, we had in the whole three pound 
and a-half of gold to a man, share and share alike, according 
to such a weight and scale as our ingenious cutler made for 
us to weigh it by, which he did indeed by guess, but which, as 
he said, he was sure was rather more than leas, and So it 
proved at last ; for it was near two ounces more than weight 
in a pound. Besides this, there was seven or eight pounds' 


weight left, which we agreed to leave in his hands, to work 
it into such shapes as we thought fit, to give away to such 
people as we might yet meet with, from whom we might 
have occasion to buy provisions, or even to buy friendship, 
or the like ; and particularly we gave a pound to our black 
prince, which he hammered and worked by his own 
indefatigable hand, and some tools our artificer lent him, 
into little round bits, as round almost as beads, though not 
exact in shape, and, drilling holes through them, put them 
all upon a string, and wore them about his black neck, and 
they looked very well there I assure you ; but he was many 
months a-doing it. And thus ended our first golden 

We now began to discover what we had not troubled our 
heads much about before ; and that was, that let the 
country be good or bad that we were in, we could not 
travel much further for a considerable time. We had been 
now five months and upwards in our journey, and the 
seasons began to change ; and nature told us that, being in 
a climate that had a winter as well as a summer, though of 
a different kind from what our country produced, we were 
to expect a wet season, and such as we should not be able 
to travel in, as well by reason of the rain itself, as of the 
floods which it would occasion wherever we should come ; 
and though we had been no strangers to those wet seasons 
in the island of Madagascar, yet we had not thought much 
of them since we began our travels ; for, setting out when 
the sun was about the solstice, that is, when it was at the 
greatest northern distance from us, we had found the benefit 
of it in our travels. But now it drew near us apace, and 
we found it began to rain ; upon which we called another 
general council, in which we debated our present circum- 
stances, and, in particular, whether we should go forward, 



or seek for a proper place upon the bank of our Golden 
river, which had been so lucky to us, to fix our camp for 
the winter. . 

Upon the whole it was resolved to abide where we were ; 
and it was not the least part of our happiness that we did 
so, as shall appear in its place. 

Having resolved upon this, our first measures were to set 
our negroes to work, to make huts or houses for our habi- 
tation ; and this they did very dexterously, only that we 
changed the ground where we had at first intended it, 
thinking, as indeed it happened, that the river might reach 
it upon any sudden rain. Our camp was like a little town, 
in which our huts were in the centre, having one large one 
in the centre of them also, into which all our particular 
lodgings opened ; so that none of us went into our apart- 
ments but through a public tent, where we all eat and drank 
together, and kept our councils and society ; and our car- 
penters made us tables, benches, and stools in abundance, as 
many as we could make use of. 

We had no need of chimneys it was hot enough without 
fire ; but yet we found ourselves at last obliged to keep a 
fire every night upon a particular occasion ; for, though we 
had in all other respects a very pleasant and agreeable 
situation, yet we were rather worse troubled with the un- 
welcome visits of wild beasts here than in the wilderness 
itself ; for, as the deer and other gentle creatures came 
hither for shelter and food, so the lions and tigers and 
leopards haunted these places continually for prey. 

When first we discovered this, we were so uneasy at it 
that we thought of removing our situation ; but, after many 
debates about it, we resolved to fortify ourselves in such a 
manner as not to be in any danger from it, and this our 
carpenters undertook, who first palisadoed our camp quite 


round with long stakes (for we had wood enough), which 
stakes were not stuck in one by another, like pales, but in 
an irregular manner a great multitude of them so placed 
that they took up near two yards in thickness, some higher, 
some lower, all sharpened at the top, and about a foot 
asunder ; so that, had any creature jumped at them, unless 
he had gone clean over, which it was very hard to do, he 
would be hung upon twenty or thirty spikes. 

The entrance into this had larger stakes than the rest, so 
placed before one another as to make three or four short 
turnings, which no four-footed beast bigger than a dog 
could possibly come in at ; and that we might not be 
attacked by any multitude together, and consequently be 
alarmed in our sleep, as we had been, or be obliged to waste 
our ammunition, which we were very chary of, we kept a 
great fire every night without the entrance of our palisadoe, 
having a hut for our two sentinels to stand in free from the 


rain, just within the entrance, and right against the fire. 

To maintain this fire we cut a prodigious deal of wood, 
and piled it up in a heap to dry, and, with the green boughs, 
made a second covering over our huts, so high and thick 
that it might cast the rain off from the first, and keep us 
effectually dry. 

We had scarce finished all these works, but the rain came 
on so fierce, and so continued, that we had little time to stir 
abroad for food, except indeed that our negroes, who wore 
no clothes, seemed to make nothing of the rain, though to 
us Europeans, in those hot climates, nothing is more 

We continued in this posture for four months that is, 
from the middle of June to the middle of October; for, 
though the rains went off at least the greatest violence of 
them about the equinox, yet, as the sun was then just over 


our heads, we resolved to stay awhile till it had passed us a 
little to the southward. 

During our encampment here we had several adventures 
with the ravenous creatures of that country ; and had not 
our fire been always kept burning, I question much whether 
all our fence, though we strengthened it afterwards with 
twelve or fourteen rows of stakes or more, would have kept 
us secure. It was always in the night that we had the 
disturbance of them, and sometimes they came in such 
multitudes that we thought all the lions and tigers and 
leopards and wolves of Africa were come together to attack 
us. One night, being clear moonshine, one of our men 
being upon the watch, told us he verily believed he saw ten 
thousand wild creatures of one sort or another pass by our 
little camp ; and as soon as ever they saw the fire they 
sheered off, but were sure to howl or roar, or whatever it 
was, when they were past. 

The music of their voices was very far from being pleasant 
to us, and sometimes would be so very disturbing that we 
could not sleep for it ; and often our sentinels would call us 
that were awake to come and look at them. It was one 
windy tempestuous night, after a very rainy day, that we 
were indeed all called up ; for such innumerable numbers of 
devilish creatures came about us that our watch really 
thought they would attack us. They would not come on the 
side where the fire was; and though we thought ourselves 
secure everywhere else, yet we all got up, and took to our 
arms. The moon was near the full, but the air full of flying 
clouds, and a strange hurricane of wind to add to the terror 
of the night ; when, looking on the back part of our camp, 
I thought I saw a creature within our fortification, and so 
indeed he was, except his haunches ; for he had taken a 
running leap, I suppose, and with all his might had thrown 


himself clear over our palisadoes, except one strong pile, 
which stood higher than the rest, and which had caught 
hold of him, and by his weight he had hanged himself upon 
it, the spike of the pile running into his hinder-haunch or 
thigh, on the inside, and by that he hung growling and 
biting the wood for rage. I snatched up a lance from one 
of the negroes that stood just by me, and, running to him, 
struck it three or four times into him, and despatched him ; 
being unwilling to shoot, because I had a mind to have a 
volley fired among the rest, which I could see standing 
without, as thick as a drove of bullocks going to a fair. I 
immediately called our people out, and showed them the 
object of terror which I had seen, and, without any farther 
consultation, fired a full volley among them, most of our 
pieces being loaden with three slugs or bullets apiece. It 
made a horrible clutter among them, and in general they all 
took to their heels, only that we could observe that some 
walked off with more gravity and majesty than others, being 
not so much frightened at the noise and fire ; and we could 
perceive that some were left upon the ground struggling as 
for life, but we durst not stir out to see what they were. 

Indeed they stood so thick, and were so near us, that we 
could not well miss killing or wounding some of them, and 
we believed they had certainly the smell of us, and our 
victuals we had been killing ; for we had killed a deer and 
three or four of those creatures like goats the day before ; 
and some of the offal had been thrown out behind our camp ; 
and this, we suppose, drew them so much about us ; but we 
avoided it for the future. 

Though the creatures fled, yet we heard a frightful roar- 
ing all night at the place where they stood, which we 
supposed was from some that were wounded ; and, as soon 
as day came, we went out to see what execution we had 


done, and, indeed, it was a strange sight ; there were three 
tigers and two wolves quite killed, besides the creature I 
had killed within our palisadoe, which seemed to be of an 
ill-gendered kind, between a tiger and a leopard. Besides 
this there was a noble old lion alive, but with both his 
fore-legs broken, so that he could not stir away, and he had 
almost beat himself to death with struggling all night ; and 
we found that this was the wounded soldier that had roared 
so loud, and given us so much disturbance. Our surgeon, 
looking at him, smiled : Now, says he, if I could be sure 
this lion would be as grateful to me as one of his majesty's 
ancestors was to Androcles, the Roman slave, I would 
certainly set both his legs again, and cure him. I had not 
heard the story of Androcles, so he told it me at large ; 
but, as to the surgeon, we told him he had no way to know 
whether the lion would be so or not, but to cure him first, 
and trust to his honour ; but he had no faith ; so, to 
despatch him, and put him out of his torment, he shot him 
into the head, and killed him, for which we called him the 
king-killer ever after. 

Our negroes found no less than five of these ravenous 
creatures wounded and dropt at a distance from our 
quarters; wherof one was a wolf, one a fine spotted young 
leopard, and the other were creatures that we knew not 
what to call them. 

We had several more of these gentlefolks about after 
that, but no such general rendezvous of them as that was 
any more ; but this ill effect it had to us, that it frightened 
the deer and other creatures from our neighbourhood, of 
whose company we were much more desirous, and which 
were necessary for our subsistence : however, our negroes 
went out every day a-hunting, as they called it, with bow and 
arrow, and they scarce ever failed of bringing us home 


something or other ; and particularly we found in this part 
of the country, after the rains had fallen some time, 
abundance of wild fowl such as we have in England duck, 
teal, widgeon, etc. some geese, and some kinds that we had 
never seen before, and we frequently killed them. Also we 
caught a great deal of fresh fish out of the river, so that we 
wanted no provision ; if we wanted anything, it was salt to 
eat with our fresh meat, but we had a little left, and we 
used it sparingly ; for as to our negroes, they could not 
taste it, nor did they care to eat any meat that was 
seasoned with it. 

The weather began now to clear up, the rains were down, 
and the floods abated, and the sun, which had passed our 
zenith, was gone to the southward a good way, so we 
proceeded on our way. 

It was the 12th of October, or thereabouts, that we began 
to set forward ; and, having an easy country to travel in, 
as well as to supply us with provisions, though still without 
inhabitants, we made more despatch, travelling sometimes, 
as we calculated it, twenty or twenty-five miles a day ; nor 
did we halt anywhere in eleven days' march, one day 
excopted, which was to make a raft to carry us over a small 
river, which, having been swelled with the rains, was not 
yet quite down. 

When we were past this river, which, by the way, ran to 
the northward too, we found a great row of hills in our 
way : we saw indeed the country open to the right at a 
great distance ; but, as we kept true to our course due west, 
we were not willing to go a great way out of our way, only 
to shun a few hills ; so we advanced ; but we were surprised, 
when, being not quite come to the top, one of our company, 
who, with two negroes, was got up before us, cried out, The 
Sea ! the Sea! and fell a-dancing and jumping, as signs of joy. 


The gunner and I were most surprised at it, because we 
had but that morning been calculating that we were then 
above a thousand miles from the seaside, and that we could 
not expect to reach it till another rainy season would be 
upon us, so that, when our man cried out, The Sea, the 
gunner was angry, and said he was mad. 

But we were both in the greatest surprise imaginable, 
when, coming to the top of the hill, and, though it was 
very high, we saw nothing but water, either before us, or to 
the right hand or the left, being a vast sea, without any 
bound but the horizon. 

He went down the hill full of confusion of thought, not 
being able to conceive whereabouts we were, or what it 
must be, seeing by all our charts the sea was yet a vast way 

It was not above three miles from the hill before we 
came to the shore, or water-edge of this sea, and there, to 
our further surprise, we found the water fresh and pleasant 
to drink ; so that, in short, we knew not what course to 
take : the sea, as we thought it to be, put a full stop to our 
journey (I mean westward), for it lay just in the way. 
Our next question was, which hand to turn to, to the right 
or the left ? but this was soon resolved ; for, as we knew 
not the extent of it, we considered that our way, if it had 
been the sea really, must be to the north ; and, therefore, 
if we went to the south now, it must be just so much out 
of our way at last. So, having spent a good part of the 
day in our surprise at the thing, and consulting what to do, 
we set forward to the north. 

We travelled upon the shore of this sea full twenty-three 
days before we could come to any resolution about what it 
was : at the end of which, early one morning, one of our 
seamen cried out, Land ! and it was no false alarm, for we 


saw plainly the tops of some hills at a very great distance, 
on the further side of the water, due west ; but though this 
satisfied us that it was not the ocean, but an inland sea or 
lake, yet we saw no land to the northward, that is to say, 
no end of it ; but were obliged to travel eight days more, 
and near a hundred miles further, before we came to the end 
of it, and then we found this lake or sea ended in a very 
great river, which ran N. or N". by E., as the other river had 
done which I mentioned before. 

My friend, the gunner, upon examining, said, that he 
believed that he was mistaken before, and that this was the 
river Nile, but was still of the mind that we were of before, 
that we should not think of a voyage into Egypt that way j 
so we resolved upon crossing this river, which, however, was 
not so easy as before, the river being very rapid, and the 
channel very broad. 

It cost us, therefore, a week here to get materials to waft 
ourselves and cattle over this river ; for though here were 
stores of trees, yet there was none of any considerable 
growth, sufficient to make a canoe. 

During our march on the edge of this bank, we met with 
<>reat fatigue, and therefore travelled fewer miles in a day 
than before, there being such a prodigious number of little 
rivers that came down from the hills on the east side, 
emptying themselves into this gulf, all which waters were 
pretty high, the rains having been but newly over. 

In the last three days of our travel we met with some 
inhabitants, but we found they lived upon the little hills, 
and not by the water-side ; nor were we a little put to it 
for food in this march, having killed nothing for four or 
five days, but some fish we caught out of the lake, and that 
not in such plenty as we found before. 

But, to make us some amends, we had no disturbance 


upon all the shore of this lake, from any wild beasts ; the 
only inconveniency of that kind was, that we met an ugly, 
venomous, deformed kind of a snake or serpent in the wet 
grounds near the lake, that several times pursued us, as if 
it would attack us ; and, if we struck, or threw anything at 
it, it would raise itself up, and hiss so loud that it might be 
heard a great way off ; it had a hellish, ugly, deformed look 
and voice, and our men would not be persuaded but it was 
the devil, only that we did not know what business Satan 
could have there, where there were no people. 

It was very remarkable that we had now travelled a 
thousand miles without meeting with any people, in the 
heart of the whole continent of Africa, where, to be sure, 
never man set his foot since the sons of Noah spread them- 
selves over the face of the whole earth. Here also our 
gunner took an observation with his forestaff to determine 
our latitude, and he found now, that, having marched about 
thirty-three days northward, we were in 6 degrees 22 
minutes south latitude. 

After having, with great difficulty, got over this river, we 
came into a strange wild country, that began a little to 
affright us ; for though the country was not a desert of dry 
scalding sand, as that was we had passed before, yet it was 
mountainous, barren, and infinitely full of most furious wild 
beasts, more than any place we had past yet. There was 
indeed a kind of coarse herbage on the surface, and now 
and then a few trees, or rather shrubs ; but people we could 
see none, and we began to be in great suspense about 
victuals ; for we had not killed a deer a great while, but 
had lived chiefly upon fish and fowl, always by the water- 
side, both which seemed to fail us now ; and we were in 
the. more consternation, because we could not lay in a 
stock here to proceed upon, as we did before, but were 


obliged to set out with scarcity, and without any certainty 
of a supply. 

We had, however, no remedy but patience ; and, having 
killed some fowls, and dried some fish, as much as, with 
short allowance, we reckoned would last us five days, we 
resolved to venture, and venture we did ; nor was it without 
cause that we were apprehensive of the danger, for we 
travelled the five days, and met with neither fish, or fowl, 
or four-footed beast whose flesh was fit to eat ; and we were 
in a most dreadful apprehension of being famished to death ; 
.on the sixth day we almost fasted, or, as we may say, we 
eat up all the scraps of what we had left, and at night lay 
down supperless upon our mats with heavy hearts, being 
obliged, the eighth day, to kill one of our poor faithful 
servants, the buffaloes, that carried our baggage; the flesh 
of this creature was very good, and so sparingly did we eat 
of it, that it lasted us all three days and a-half, and was 
just spent ; and we were upon the point of killing another 
when we saw before us a country that promised better, 
having high trees and a large river in the middle of it. 

This encouraged us, and we quickened our march for the 
river-side, though with empty stomachs, and very faint and 
weak ; but, before we came to this river, we had the good 
hap to meet with some young deer, a thing we had long 
wished for. In a word, having shot three of them, we came 
to a full stop to fill our bellies, and never gave the flesh 
time to cool before we eat it ; nay, it was much we could 
stay to kill it, and had not eaten it alive, for we were, in 
short, almost famished. 

Through all that inhospitable country we saw con- 
tinually lions, tigers, leopards, civet cats, and abundance of 
kinds of creatures that we did not understand ; we saw no 
elephants, but every now and then we met with an 


elephant's tooth lying on the ground, and some of them 
lying, as it were, half buried by the length of time that 
they had lain there. 

When we came to the shore of this river, we found it ran 
northerly still, as all the rest had done, but with this 
difference, that as the course of the other rivers were 
N. by E. or N.N.E. the course of this lay N.N.W. 


ON the further bank of this river we saw some sign of 
inhabitants, but met with none for the first day ; but the 
next day we came into an inhabited country, the people all 
negroes, and stark naked, without shame, both men and 

We made signs of friendship to them, and found them a 
very frank, civil, and friendly sort of people. They came 
to our negroes without any suspicion, nor did they give us 
any reason to suspect them of any villany, as the others had 
done ; we made signs to them that we were hungry, and 
immediately some naked women ran and fetched us great 
quantities of roots, and of things like pumpkins, which we 
made no scruple to eat; and our artificer showed them 
some of his trinkets that he had made, some of iron, some 
of silver, but none of gold : they had so much judgment as 
to choose those of silver before the iron ; but when we 
showed them some gold, we found they did not value it so 
much as either of the other. 

For some of these things they brought us more pro- 
visions, and three living creatures as big as calves, but not 
of that kind ; neither did we ever see any of them before ; 
their flesh was very good ; and after that they brought us 


twelve more, and some smaller creatures, like hares; all 
which were very welcome to us, who were indeed at a very 
great loss for provisions. 

We grew very intimate with these people, and, indeed, 
they were the civilest and most friendly people that we met 
with at all, and mightily pleased with us ; and, which was 
very particular, they were much easier to be made to 
understand our meaning than any we had met with before. 

At last we began to inquire our way, pointing to the west : 
they made us understand easily that we could not go that 
way, but they pointed to us, that we might go north-west, 
so that we presently understood that there was another lake 
in our way, which proved to be true ; for in two days more 
we saw it plain, and it held us till we passed the equinoctial 
line, lying all the way on our left hand, though at a great 

Travelling thus northward, our gunner seemed very 
anxious about our proceedings; for he assured us, and 
made me sensible of it by the maps which he had been 
teaching me out of, that when we came into the latitude of 
six degrees, or thereabouts, north of the line, the land 
trenched away to the west to such a length, that we should 
not come at the sea under a march of above fifteen hundred 
miles further westward than the country we desired to go 
to. I asked him if there were no navigable rivers that we 
might meet with, which, running into the west ocean, might 
perhaps carry us down their stream, and then, if it were 
fifteen hundred miles, or twice fifteen hundred miles, we 
might do well enough, if we could but get provisions. 

Here he showed me the maps again, and that there 
appeared no river whose stream was of such a length as to 
do any kindness, till we came perhaps within two or three 
hundred miles of the shore, except the Rio Grand, as they 


call it, which lay further northward from us, at least seven 
hundred miles ; and that then he knew not what kind of 
country it might carry us through ; for he said it was his 
opinion that the heats on the north of the line, even in the 
same latitude, were violent, and the country more desolate, 
barren, and barbarous than those of the south ; and that, 
when we came among the negroes in the north part of 
Africa, next the sea, especially those who had seen and 
trafficked with the Europeans, such as Dutch, English, 
Portuguese, Spaniards, etc., they had most of them been so 
ill used at some time or other, that they would certainly 
put all the spite they could upon us in mere revenge. 

Upon these considerations, he advised us that, as soon 
as we had passed this lake, we should proceed W.S.W., 
that is to say, a little inclining to the south, and that in time 
we should meet with the great river Congo, from whence 
the coast is called Congo, being a little north of Angola, 
where we intended at first to go. 

I asked him if ever he had been on the coast of Congo ? 
He said, yes, he had, but was never on shore there. 
Then I asked him how we should get from thence to the 
coast where the European ships came, seeing, if the land 
trenched away west for fifteen hundred miles, we must 
have all that shore to traverse before we could double the 
west point of it ? 

He told me it was ten to one but we should hear of some 
European ships to take us in, for that they often visited the 
coast of Congo and Angola, in trade with the negroes ; and 
that if we could not, yet, if we could but find provisions, we 
should make our way as well along the sea-shore as along 
the river, till we came to the gold coast, which, he said, was 
not above four or five hundred miles north of Congo, 
besides the turning of the coast west about three hundred 


more ; that shore being in the latitude of 6 or 7 degrees, 
and that there the English, or Dutch, or French had 
settlements or factories, perhaps all of them. 

I confess I had more mind, all the time he argued, to 
have gone northward, and shipped ourselves in the Rio 
Grand, or, as the traders call it, the river Negro, or Niger, 
for I knew that at last it would bring us down to the Cape 
de Verd, where we were sure of relief ; whereas at the coast 
we were going to now we had a prodigious way still to go, 
either by sea or land, and no certainty which way to get 
provisions but by force; but for the present I held my 
tongue, because it was my tutor's opinion. 

But when, according to his desire, we came to turn south- 
ward, having passed beyond the second great lake, our men 
began all to be uneasy, and said we were now out of our 
way for certain, for that we were going farther from home, 
and that we were indeed far enough off already. 

But we had not marched above twelve days more, eight 
whereof was taken up in rounding the lake, and four more 
south-west, in order to make for the river Congo, but we 
were put to another full stop, by entering a country so 
desolate, so frightful, and so wild, that we knew not what to 
think or do ; for, besides that it appeared as a terrible and 
boundless desert, having neither woods, trees, rivers, nor 
inhabitants, so even the place where we were was desolate 
of inhabitants, nor had we any way to gather in a stock of 
provisions for the passing of this desert, as we did before at 
our entering the first, unless we had marched back four 
days to the place where we turned the head of the lake. 

Well, notwithstanding this, we ventured ; for, to men 
that had passed such wild places as we had done, nothing 
could seem too desperate to undertake : we ventured, I 
say, and the rather because we saw very high mountains in 


our way at a great distance, and we imagined wherever 
there were mountains there would be springs and rivers ; 
where rivers there would be trees and grass ; where trees 
and grass there would be cattle; and where cattle some 
kind of inhabitants. 

At last, in consequence of this speculative philosophy, 
we entered this waste, having a great heap of roots and 
plants for our bread, such as the Indians gave us, a very 
little flesh, or salt, and but a little water. 

We travelled two days towards those hills, and still they 
seemed as far off as they did at first, and it was the fifth day 
before we got to them ; indeed, we travelled softly, for it 
was excessively hot, and we were much about the very 
equinoctial line we hardly knew whether to the south or 
the north of it. 

As we had concluded, that where there were hills there 
would be springs, so it happened; but we were not only 
surprised, but really frightened, to find the first spring we 
came to, and which looked admirably clear and beautiful, 
to be salt as brine. It was a terrible disappointment to us, 
and put us under melancholy apprehensions at first ; but the 
gunner, who was of a spirit never discouraged, told us we 
should not be disturbed at that, but be very thankful, for 
salt was a bait we stood in as much need of as anything, 
and there was no question but we should find fresh water 
as well as salt ; and here our surgeon stept in to encourage 
us, and told us that, if we did not know, he would show us 
a way how to make that salt water fresh, which indeed 
made us all more cheerful, though we wondered what he 

Meantime our men, without bidding, had been seeking 
about for other springs, and found several ; but still they 
were all salt ; from whence we concluded, that there was a 


salt rock or mineral stone in those mountains, and perhaps 
they might be all of such a substance ; but still I wondered 
by what witchcraft it was that our artist, the surgeon, would 
make this salt water turn fresh j and I longed to see the 
experiment, which was indeed a very odd one ; but he went 
to work with as much assurance as if he had tried it on the 
very spot before. 

He took two of our large mats, and sewed them together; 
and they made a kind of a bag four feet broad, three feet 
and a-half high, and about a foot and a-half thick when it 
was full. 

He caused us to fill this bag with dry sand, and tread it 
down as close as we could, not to burst the mats. When 
thus the bag was full within a foot, he sought some other 
earth, and filled up the rest with it, and still trod all in as 
hard as he could. When he had done, he made a hole in 
the upper earth, about as broad as the crown of a large hat, 
or something bigger, but not so deep, and bade a negro fill 
it with water, and still, as it shrunk away, to fill it again, 
and keep it full. The bag he had placed at first across two 
pieces of wood, about a foot from the ground ; and under it 
he ordered some of our skins to be spread, that would hold 
water. In about an hour, and not sooner, the water began 
to come dropping through the bottom of the bag, and, to 
our great surprise, was perfectly fresh and sweet ; and this 
continued for several hours : but in the end the water 
began to be a little brackish. When we told him that, 
Well then, said he, turn the sand out and fill it again. 
Whether he did this by way of experiment from his own 
fancy, or whether he had seen it done before, I do not 

The next day we mounted the tops of the hills, where the 
* It was an old expedient of the Bucaniers. 



prospect was indeed astonishing; for, as far as the eye 
could look, south, or west, or north-west, there was nothing 
to be seen but a vast howling wilderness, with neither tree 
or river, or any green thing. The surface we found, as the 
part we passed the day before, had a kind of thick moss 
upon it, of a blackish dead colour, but nothing in it that 
looked like food, either for man or beast. 

Had we been stored with provisions to have entered for 
ten or twenty days upon this wilderness, as we were 
formerly, and with fresh water, we had hearts good enough 
to have ventured, though we had been obliged to come 
back again ; for, if we went north, we did not know but we 
might meet with the same ; but we neither had provisions, 
neither were we in any place where it was possible to get 
them. We killed some wild ferine creatures at the foot of 
these hills : but, except two things, like to nothing that we 
ever saw before, we met with nothing that was fit to eat. 
These were creatures that seemed to be between a kind of 
buffalo and a deer, but indeed resembled neither ; for they 
had no horns, and had great legs like a cow, with a fine 
head, and the neck like a deer. We killed also, at several 
times, a tiger, two young lions, and a wolf; but God be 
thanked, we were not so reduced as to eat carrion. 

Upon this terrible prospect, I renewed my motion of 
turning northward, and, making towards the river Niger or 
Rio Grand, then to turn west towards the English settle- 
ments on the gold coast, to which every one most readily 
consented, only our gunner, who was indeed our best guide, 
though he happened to be mistaken at this time. He 
moved that, as our coast was now northward, so we might 
slant away north-west, that so, by crossing the country, we 
might perhaps meet with some other river that ran into the 
Rio Grand northward, or down to the gold coast southward, 


and so both direct our way, and shorten the labour ; as also 
because, if any of the country was inhabited and fruitful, we 
should probably find it upon the shore of the rivess, where 
alone we could be furnished with provisions. 

This was good advice, and too rational not to be taken ; 
out our present business was, what to do to get out of this 
dreadful place we were in. Behind us was a waste, which 
had already cost us five days' march, and we had not pro- 
visions for five days left, to go back again the same way. 
Before us was nothing but horror, as above : so we resolved, 
seeing the ridge of the hills we were upon had some appear- 
ance of fruitfulness, and that they seemed to lead away 
to the northward a great way, to keep under the foot of 
them on the east side, to go on as far as we could, and 
in the meantime to look diligently out for food. 

Accordingly we moved on the next morning ; for we had 
no time to lose, and, to our great comfort, we came, in our 
first morning's march, to very good springs of fresh water, 
and, lest we should have a scarcity again, we filled all our 
bladder-bottles, and carried it with us. I should also have 
observed, that our surgeon, who made the salt water fresh, 
took the opportunity of those salt springs, and made us the 
quantity of three or four pecks of very good salt. 

In our third march we found an unexpected supply of 
food, the hills being full of hares ; they were of a kind 
something different from ours in England, larger, and not 
so swift of foot, but very good meat. We shot several of 
them, and the little tame leopard, which I told you we 
took at the negro town that we plundered, hunted them 
like a dog, and killed us several every day ; but she would 
eat nothing of them unless we gave it her, which indeed in 
our own circumstances was very obliging. We salted them 
a little, and dried them in the sun whole, and carried a 


stranee parcel along with us. I think it was almost three 
hundred ; for we did not know when we might find any 
more, either of these, or any other food. We continued 
our course under these hills very comfortably eight or nine 
days, when we found, to our great satisfaction, the country 
beyond us began to look with something of a better 
countenance. As for the west side of the hills, we never 
examined it till this day, when three of our company, the 
rest halting for refreshment, mounted the hills again to 
satisfy their curiosity, but found it all the same ; nor could 
they see any end of it, not even to the north, the way we 
were going ; so the tenth day, finding the hills made a turn, 
and led, as it were, into the vast desert, we left them, and 
continued our course north, the country being very toler- 
ably full of woods, some waste, but not tediously long, till 
we came, by our gunner's observation, into the latitude of 
8 degrees 5 minutes, which we were nineteen days in 

All this way we found no inhabitants, but abundance of 
wild ravenous creatures, with which we became so well 
acquainted now, that really we did not much mind them. 
We saw lions, and tigers, and leopards every night and 
morning in abundance ; but, as they seldom came near us, 
we let them go about their business ; if they offered to come 
near us, we made false fire with any gun that was uncharged, 
and they would walk off as soon as they saw the flash. 

We made pretty good shift for food all this way ; for 
sometimes we killed hares, sometimes some fowls, but for 
my life I cannot give names to any of them, except a kind 
of partridge, and another that was like our turtle. Now 
and then we began to meet with elephants again in great 
numbers ; those creatures delighted chiefly in the woody 
part of the country. 


This long-continued march fatigued us very much, and 
two of our men fell sick, indeed so very sick that we 
thought they would have died; and one of our negroes 
died suddenly. Our surgeon said it was an apoplexy, but 
he wondered at it, he said, for he could never complain of 
his high feeding. Another of them was very ill, but our 
surgeon with much ado persuading him, indeed it was 
almost forcing him, to be bled, he recovered. 

We halted here twelve days for the sake of our sick men, 
and our surgeon persuaded me, and three or four more of 
us, to be bled during the time of rest, which, with other 
things he gave us, contributed very much to our continued 
health, in so tedious a march, and in so hot a climate. 

In this march we pitched our matted tents every night, 
and they were very comfortable to us, though we had trees 
and woods to shelter us also in most places. We thought 
it very strange, that in all this part of the country we yet 
met with no inhabitants ; but the principal reason, as we 
found afterwards, was, that we, having kept a western course 
first, and then a northern course, were gotten too much 
into the middle of the country, and among the deserts : 
whereas the inhabitants are principally found among the 
rivers, lakes, and low-lands, as well to the south-west as to 
the north. 

What little rivulets we found here were so empty of 
water, that, except some pits, and little more than 
ordinary pools, there was scarce any water to be seen 
in them; and they rather showed, that, during the rainy 
months, they had a channel, than that they had really 
any running water in them at that time : by which it 
was easy for us to judge, that we had a great way to 
go ; but this was no discouragement so long as we had 
but provisions, and some reasonable shelter from the 


violent heat, which indeed I thought was greater now 
than when the sun was just over our heads. 

Our men being recovered, we set forward again, very 
well stored with provisions, and water sufficient, and, 
bending our course a little to the westward of the north, 
travelled in hopes of some favourable stream which 
might bear a canoe ; but we found none till after 
twenty days' travel, including eight days' rest ; for our 
men being weak, we rested very often, especially when 
we came to places which were proper for our purposes, 
where we found cattle, fowl, or anything to kill for food. 
In those twenty days' march we advanced four degrees 
to the northward, besides some meridian distance west- 
ward, and we met with abundance of elephants' teeth 
scattered up and down, here and there, in the woody 
grounds especially, some of which were very large. But 
they were no booty to us ; our business was provisions, 
and a good passage out of the country; and it had 
been much more to our purpose, to have found a good 
fat deer, and to have killed it for our food, than a 
hundred ton of elephants' teeth ; and yet, as you shall 
presently hear, when we came to begin our passage by 
water, we once thought to have built a large canoe, 
on purpose to have loaded it with ivory ; but this was 
when we knew nothing of the rivers, nor knew anything 
how dangerous and how difficult a passage it was that 
we were likely to have in them, nor had considered 
the weight of carriage to lug them to the rivers where 
we might embark. 

At the end of twenty days' travels, as above, in the 
latitude of 3 degrees 16 minutes, we discovered in a 
valley, at some distance from us, a pretty tolerable 
stream, which we thought deserved the name of a river, 


and which ran its course N.N.W. which was just what 
we wanted. As we had fixed our thoughts upon our 
passage by water, we took this for the place to make 
our experiment, and bent our march directly to the valley. 

There was a small thicket of trees just in our way, 
which we went by, thinking no harm, when on a sudden 
one of our negroes was very dangerously wounded with an 
arrow, shot into his back, slanting between his shoulders. 
This put us to a full stop ; and three of our men, with two 
negroes, spreading the wood, for it was but a small one, 
found a negro with a bow, but no arrow, who would have 
escaped, but our men that discovered him shot him in 
revenge of the mischief he had done ; so we lost the 
opportunity of taking him prisoner, which, if we had done, 
and sent him home with good usage, it might have brought 
others to us in a friendly manner. 

Going a little farther, we came to five negro huts or 
houses, built after a different manner from any we had seen 
, yet ; and at the door of one of them lay seven elephants' 
teeth, piled up against the wall or side of the hut, as if they 
had been provided against a market. Here were no men, 
but seven or eight women, and near twenty children. We 
offered them no uncivility of any kind, but gave them every 
one a bit of silver beaten out thin, as I observed before, 
and cut diamond-fashion, or in the shape of a bird ; at 
which the women were overjoyed, and brought out to us 
several sorts of food, which we did not understand, being 
cakes of a meal made of roots, which they bake in the sun, 
and which eat very well. We went a short way farther, and 
pitched our camp for that night, not doubting but our 
civility to the women would produce some good effect, when 
their husbands might come home. 

Accordingly, the next morning, the women, with eleven 


men, five young boys, and two good big girls, came to our 
camp. Before they came quite to us, the women called 
aloud, and made an odd, screaming noise, to bring us out ; 
and accordingly we came out, when two of the women, 
showing us what we had given them, and pointing to the 
company behind, made such signs as we. could easily 
understand signified friendship. When the men advanced, 
having bows and arrows, they laid them down on the 
ground, scraped, and threw sand over their heads, and 
turned round three times, with their hands laid up upon 
the tops of their heads. This, it seems, was a solemn 
vow of friendship. Upon this we beckoned them with our 
hands to come nearer ; then they sent the boys and girls to 
us first, which, it seems, was to bring us more cakes of 
bread, and some green herbs, to eat, which we received, 
and took the boys up and kissed them, and the little girls 
too ; then the men came up close to us, and sat them down 
on the ground, making signs that we should sit down by 
them, which we did. They said much to one another, but 
we could not understand them, nor could we find any way 
to make them understand us ; much less whither we were 
going, or what we wanted, only that we easily made them 
understand we wanted victuals : whereupon one of the men, 
casting his eyes about him towards a rising ground that was 
about half-a-mile off, started up as if he was frightened, flew 
to the place where they had laid down their bows and 
arrows, snatched up a bow and two arrows, and ran like a 
race-horse to the place. When he came there, he let fly both 
his arrows, and came back again to us with the same speed ; 
we seeing he came with the bow, but without the arrows, 
were the more inquisitive, but the fellow saying nothing to 
us, beckons to one of our negroes to come to him, and we 
bid him go ; so he led him back to the place, where lay a 


kind of a deer, shot with two arrows, but not quite dead ; 
and between them they brought it down to us. This was 
for a gift to us, and was very welcome, I assure you, for our 
stock was low. These people were all stark naked. 

The next day there came about a hundred men and 
women to us, making the same awkward signals of friend- 
ship, and dancing, and showing themselves very well 
pleased, and anything they had they gave us. How the 
man in the wood came to be so butcherly and rude as to 
shoot at our men, without making any breach first, we 
could not imagine; for the people were simple, plain, and 
inoffensive in all our other conversation with them. 

From hence we went down the bank of the little river I 
mentioned, and where I found we should see whole nations 
of negroes ; but whether friendly to us or not, that we could 
make no judgment of yet. 

The river was of no use to us, as to the design of making 
canoes, a great while ; and we traversed the country on the 
edge of it about five days more, when our carpenters, find- 
ing the stream increase, proposed to pitch our tents, and 
fall to work to make canoes ; but after we had begun the 
work, and cut down two or three trees, and spent five days 
in the labour, some of our men, wandering further down 
the river, brought us word that the stream rather decreased 
than increased, sinking away into the sands, or drying up 
by the heat of the sun ; so that the river appeared not able 
to carry the least canoe that could be any way useful to 
us : so we were obliged to give over our enterprise, and 
move on. 

In our further prospect this way we marched three days 
full west, the country on the north side being extraordinary 
mountainous, and more parched and dry than any we had 
seen yet; whereas, in the part which looks due west, we 


found a pleasant valley, running a great way between two 
great ridges of mountains. The hills looked frightful, 
being entirely bare of trees and grass, or even white with 
the dryness of the sand ; but in the valley we had trees, 
grass, and some creatures that were fit for food, and some 

We passed by some of their huts or houses, and saw 
people about them ; but they ran up into the hills as soon 
as they saw us. At the end of this valley we met with a 
peopled country, and at first it put us to some doubt 
whether we should go among them or keep up towards the 
hills northerly ; and as our aim was principally, as before, 
to make our way to the river Niger, we inclined to the 
latter, pursuing our course by the compass to the N.W. 
We marched thus without interruption seven days more, 
when we met with a surprising circumstance, much more 
desolate and disconsolate than our own, and which, in time 
to come, will scarce seem credible. 

We did not much seek the conversing, or acquainting 
ourselves with the natives of the country, except where we 
found the want of them for our provision, or their direction 
for our way ; so that, whereas we found the country here 
begin to be very populous, especially towards our left hand 
that is, to the south we kept at the more distance 
northerly, still stretching towards the west. 

In this tract we found something or other to kill and eat, 
which always supplied our necessity, though not so well as 
we were provided in our first setting out. Being thus, as it 
were, pushing to avoid the peopled country, we at last came 
to a very pleasant, agreeable stream of water, not big 
enough to be called a river, but running to the N.X.W., 
which was the very course we desired to go. 

On the farthest bank of this brook we perceived some 


huts of negroes, not many, and in a little low spot of 
ground some maize, or Indian corn, growing, which inti- 
mated presently to us that there were some inhabitants on 
that side less barbarous than those we had met with in 
other places where we had been. 

As we went forward, our whole caravan being in a body, 
our negroes, who were in the front, cried out that they saw 
a white man ! We were not much surprised at first, it 
being, as we thought, a mistake of the fellows, and asked 
them what they meant, when one of them stept up to me, 
and, pointing to a hut on the other side of the hill, I was 
astonished to see a white man indeed, but stark naked, 
very busy near the door of his hut, and stooping down to 
the ground with something in his hand, as if he had been at 
some work, and, his back being towards us, he did not see us. 

I gave notice to our negroes to make no noise, and 
waited till some more of our men were come up, to show 
the sight to them, that they might be sure I was not 
mistaken, and we were soon satisfied of the truth ; for the 
man, having heard some noise, started up, and looked full 
at us, as much surprised, to be sure, as we were, but whether 
with fear or hope we then knew not. 

As he discovered us, so did the rest of the inhabitants 
belonging to the huts about him, and all crowded together, 
looking at us at a distance a little bottom, in which the 
brook ran, lying between us, the white man, and all 
the rest, as he told us afterwards, not knowing well whether 
they should stay or run away. However, it presently came 
into my thoughts that, if there were white men among them, 
it would be much easier for us to make them understand 
what we meant, as to peace or war, than we found it with 
others ; so, tying a piece of white rag to the end of a stick, 
we sent two negroes with it to the bank of the water, 


carrying the pole up as high as they could. It was presently 
understood, and two of their men and the white man came 
to the shore on the other side. 

However, as the white man spoke no Portuguese, they 
could understand nothing of one another but by signs ; but 
our men made the white man understand that they had 
white men wiih them too, at which they said the white man 
laughed. However, to be short, our men came back, and 
told us they were all good friends, and in about an hour 
four of our men, two negroes, and the black prince went to 
the river side, where the white man came to them. 

They had not been half a quarter of an hour there, till a 
negro came running to me, and told me the white man was 
Inglese, as he called him : upon which I ran back, eagerly 
enough, you may be sure, with him, and found, as he said, 
that he was an Englishman, upon which he embraced me 
very passionately, the tears running down his face. The 
first surprise of his seeing us was over before we came ; but 
any one may conceive it by the brief account he gave us 
afterwards of his very unhappy circumstance, and of so un- 
expected a deliverance, such as perhaps never happened to 
any man in the world ; for it was a million to one odds that 
ever he could have been relieved nothing but an adventure 
that never was heard or read of before could have suited 
his case, unless heaven, by some miracle that never was to 
be expected, had acted for him. 

He appeared to be a gentleman, not an ordinary bred 
fellow, seaman, or labouring man ; this showed itself in his 
behaviour in the first moment of our conversing with 
him, and in spite of all the disadvantages of his miserable 

He was a middle-aged man, not above thirty-seven or 
thirty-eight, though his beard was grown exceedingly long, 


and the hair of his head and face strangely covered him to 
the middle of his back and breast; he was white, and his 
skin very fine, though discoloured, and in some places 
blistered, and covered with a brown blackish substance, 
scurfy, scaly, and hard, which was the effect of the scorch- 
ing heat of the sun ; he was stark naked, and had been so, 
as he told us, upwards of two years. 

He was so exceedingly transported at our meeting with 
him that he could scarce enter into any discourse at all 
with us for that day ; and, when he could get away from us 
for a little, we saw him walking alone, and showing all the 
most extravagant tokens of an ungovernable joy; and even 
afterwards he was never without tears in his eyes for several 
days, upon the least word spoken by us of his circumstances, 
or by him of his deliverance. 

We found his behaviour the most courteous and endearing 
I ever saw in any man whatever, and most evident tokens 
of a mannerly, well-bred person appeared in all things he 
did or said ; and our people were exceedingly taken with 
him. He was a scholar and a mathematician ; he could 
not speak Portuguese indeed, but he spoke Latin to our 
surgeon, French to another of our men, and Italian to a 

He had no leisure in his thoughts to ask us whence we 
came, whither we were going, or who we were ; but would 
have it always as an answer to himself, that to be sure, 
wherever we were a-going, we came from heaven, and were 
sent on purpose to save him from the most wretched 
condition that ever man was reduced to. 



OUR men pitching their camp on the bank of a little river 
opposite to him, he began to inquire what store of provi- 
sions we had, and how we proposed to be supplied. When 
he found that our store was but small, he said he would 
talk with the natives, and we should have provisions 
enough ; for he said they were the most courteous, good- 
natured part of the inhabitants in all that part of the 
country, as we might suppose by his living so safe among 

The first things this gentleman did for us were indeed of 
the greatest consequence to us ; for, first, he perfectly 
informed us where we were, and which was the properest 
course for us to steer ; secondly, he put us in a way how to 
furnish ourselves effectually with provisions ; and, thirdly, 
he was our complete interpreter and peacemaker with all 
the natives, who now began to be very numerous about us, 
and who were a more fierce and politic people than those 
we had met with before; not so easily terrified with our 
arms as those, and not so ignorant as to give their pro- 
visions and corn for our little toys, such, as I said before, 
our artificer made ; but, as they frequently traded and 
conversed with the Europeans on the coast, or with other 
negro nations that had traded and been concerned with 
them, they were the less ignorant and the less fearful, and 
consequently nothing was to be had from them but by 
exchange for such things as they liked. 

This I say of the negro natives, which we soon came 
among ; but as to these poor people that he lived among, 
they were not much acquainted with things, being at the 
distance of above three hundred miles from the coast, only 


that they found elephants' teeth upon the hills to the north, 
which they took and carried about sixty or seventy miles 
south, where other trading negroes usually met them, and 
gave them beads, glass, shells, and cowries for them, such 
as the English and Dutch, and other traders, furnish them 
with from Europe. 

We now began to be more familiar with our new 
acquaintance ; and, first, though we made but a sorry 
figure as to clothes ourselves, having neither shoe, or 
stocking, or glove, or hat among us, and but very few 
shirts, yet as well as we could we clothed him ; and first, 
our surgeon, having scissors and razors, shaved him, and cut 
his hair ; a hat, as I say, we had not in all our stores, but he 
supplied himself by making a cap of a piece of a leopard's 
skin, most artificially. As for shoes or stockings, he had 
gone so long without them that he cared not even for 
the buskins and foot-gloves we wore, which I described 

As he had been curious to hear the whole story of our 
travels, and was exceedingly delighted with the relation, so 
we were no less to know, and pleased with, the account of 
his circumstances, and the history of his coming to that 
strange place alone, and in that condition, which we found 
him in, as above. This account of his would indeed be, in 
itself, the subject of an agreeable history, and would be as 
long and as diverting as our own, having in it many strange 
and extraordinary incidents, but we cannot have room here 
to launch out into so long a digression : the sum of his 
history was this : 

He had been a factor for the English Guinea company at 
Sierra Leon, or some other of their settlements which had 
been taken by the French, where he had been plundered of 
all his own effects, as well as of what was entrusted to him 


by the company. Whether it was that the company did 
not do him justice in restoring his circumstances, or in 
further employing him, he quitted their service, and was 
employed by those they called separate traders ; and being 
afterwards out of employ there also, traded on his own 
account ; when, passing unwarily into one of the company's 
settlements, he was either betrayed into the hands of some 
of the natives, or, somehow or other, was surprised by 
them. However, as they did not kill him, he found means 
to escape from them at that time, and fled to another 
nation of the natives, who, being enemies to the other, 
entertained him friendly, and with them he lived some 
time ; but not liking his quarters, or his company, he fled 
again,, and several times changed his landlords ; sometimes 
was carried by force, sometimes hurried by fear, as circum- 
stances altered with him (the variety of which deserves a 
history by itself), till at last he had wandered beyond all 
possibility of return, and had taken up his abode where we 
found him, where he was well received by the petty king of 
the tribe he lived with ; and he, in return, instructed 
him how to value the product of their labour, and on what 
terms to trade with those negroes who came up to them for 

As he was naked, and had no clothes, so he was naked of 
arms for his defence, having neither gun, sword, staff, nor 
any instrument of war about him no, not to guard himself 
against the attacks of a wild beast, of which the country 
was very full. We asked him how he came to be so entirely 
abandoned of all concern for his safety? He answered, 
that to him, that had so often wished for death, life was 
not worth defending ; and that, as he was entirely at the 
mercy of the negroes, they had much the more confidence 
in him, seeing he had no weapons to hurt them. As for 


wild beasts, he was not much concerned about them, for 
he had scarcely ever gone from his hut ; but if he did, the 
negro king and his men went all armed wiih bows and 
arrows, and lances, with which they would kill any of the 
ravenous creatures, lions as well as others ; but that they 
seldom came abroad in the day ; and if the negroes wander 
anywhere in the night, they always build a hut for them- 
selves, and make a fire at the door of it, which is guard enough. 

We inquired of him what we should next do towards 
getting to the seaside. He told us we were about a hundred 
and twenty English leagues from the coast, where almost all 
the European settlements and factories were, and which is 
called the gold coast ; but that there were so many different 
nations of negroes in the way, that it was ten to one if we 
were not either fought with continually, or starved for want 
of provisions ; but that there were two other ways to go, 
which, if he had had any company to go with him, he had 
often contrived to make his escape by. The one was to 
travel full west, which, though it was further to go, yet was 
not so full of people, and the people we should find would 
be so much the civiller to us, or be so much the easier to 
fight with ; or, that the other way was, if possible, to get to 
the Rio Grand, and go down the stream in canoes. We told 
him that was the way we had resolved on before we met 
with him ; but then he told us there was a prodigious desert 
to go over, and as prodigious woods to go through, before 
we came to it, and that both together were at least twenty 
days' march for us, travel as hard as we could. 

We asked him if there were no horses in the country, or 
asses, or even bullocks or buffaloes, to make use of in such 
a journey, and we showed him ours, of which we had but 
three left ; he said no, all the country did not afford 
anything of that kind. 

3 2 4 


He told us that in this great wood there were immense 
numbers of elephants; and, upon the desert, great multitudes 
of lions, lyxnes, tigers, leopards, etc. ; and that it was to 
that wood, and to that desert, that the negroes went to get 
elephants' teeth, where they never failed to find a great 

We inquired still more, and particularly the way to the 
gold coast, and if there were no rivers to ease us in our 
carriage ; and told him as to the negroes fighting with us, 
we were not much concerned at that ; nor were we afraid of 
starving, for, if they had any victuals among them, we would 
have our share of it ; and, therefore, if he would venture to 
show us the way, we would venture to go ; and as for him- 
self, we told him we would live and die together, there 
should not a man of us stir from him. 

He told us, with all his heart, if we resolved it, and 
would venture, we might be assured he would take his fate 
with us, and he would endeavour to guide us in such a way 
as we should meet with some friendly savages who would 
use us well, and perhaps stand by us against some others, 
who were less tractable ; so, in a word, we all resolved to 
go full south for the gold coast. 

The next morning he came to us again, and being all met 
in council, as we may call it, he began to talk very seriously 
with us; that, since we were now come, after a long 
journey, to a view of the end of our troubles, and had been 
so obliging to him as to offer to carry him with us, he had 
been all night revolving in his mind what he and we all 
might do to make ourselves some amends for all our 
sorrows ; and, first, he said, he was to let me know that we 
were just then in one of the richest parts of the world, 
though it was really, otherwise, but a desolate, disconsolate 
wilderness ; for, says he, there is not a river but runs gold, 


not a desert but, without ploughing, bears a crop of ivory. 
What mines of gold, what immense stores of gold those 
mountains may contain, from whence these rivers come, or 
the shores which these waters run by, we know not, but 
may imagine that they must be inconceivably rich, seeing so 
much is washed down the stream by the water washing the 
sides of the land, that the quantity suffices all the traders 
which the European world send thither. We asked him 
how far they went for it, seeing the ships only trade upon 
the coast. He told us, that the negroes on the coast search 
the rivers up for the length of a hundred and fifty or two 
hundred miles, and would be out a month, or two or three, 
at a time, and always came home sufficiently rewarded; 
but, says he, they never come thus far, and yet hereabouts 
is as much gold as there. Upon this he told us that he 
believed he might have gotten a hundred pounds' weight of 
gold since he came hither, if he had employed himself to 
look and work for it, but as he knew not what to do with it, 
and had long since despaired of being ever delivered from 
the misery he was in, he had entirely omitted it. For what 
advantage had it been to me, said he, or what richer had I 
been, if I had a ton of gold dust, and lay and wallowed in 
it ? The richness of it, said he, would not give me one 
moment's felicity, nor relieve me in the present exigency. 
Nay, says he, as you all see, it would not buy me clothes to 
cover me, or a drop of drink to save me from perishing. 
It is of no value here, says he; there are several people 
among these huts that would weigh gold against a few glass 
beads, or a cockle-shell, and give you a handful of gold dust 
for a handful of cowries. 

N.B. These are little shells which our children call 
blackamoors' teeth. 

When he had said this, he pulled out a piece of an 


earthen pot baked hard in the sun : here, says he, is some 
of the dirt of this country, and if I would, I could have got 
a great deal more; and showing it to us, I believe there 
was in it between two and three pounds' weight of gold 
dust, of the same kind and colour with that we had gotten 
already, as before. After we had looked at it awhile, he 
told us, smiling, we were his deliverers, and all he had, as 
well as his life, was ours ; and therefore, as this would be of 
value to us when we came to our own country, so he 
desired we would accept of it among us, and that this was 
the only time that he had repented that he had picked up 
no more of it. 

I spoke for him as his interpreter to my comrades, and in 
their names thanked him ; but, speaking to them in Por- 
tuguese, I desired them to refer the acceptance of his 
kindness to the next morning; and so I did, telling him we 
would farther talk of this part in the morning ; so we parted 
for that time. 

When he was gone, I found they were all wonderfully 
affected with his discourse, and with the generosity of his 
temper, as well as the magnificence of his present, which in 
another place had been extraordinary. Upon the whole, 
not to detain you with circumstances, we agreed, that, seeing 
he was now one of our number, and that, as we were a 
relief to him in carrying him out of the dismal condition he 
was in, so he was equally a relief to us, in being our guide 
through the rest of the country, our interpreter with the 
natives, and our director how to manage with the savages, 
and how to enrich ourselves with the wealth of the country; 
that, therefore, we would put his gold among our common 
stock, and every one should give him as much as would make 
his up just as much as any single share of our own, and for 
the future we would take our lot together, taking his solemn 


engagement to us, as we had before one to another, that we 
would not conceal the least grain of gold we found one from 

In the next conference we acquainted him with the 
adventures of the Golden river, and how we had shared 
what we got there, so that every man had a larger stock 
than he for his share ; that, therefore, instead of taking any 
from him, we had resolved every one to add a little to him. 
He appeared very glad that we had met with such good 
success, but would not take a grain from us, till at last, 
pressing him very hard, he told us that then he would take 
it thus : that when we came to get any more, he would 
have so much out of the first as should make him even, and 
then we should go on as equal adventurers ; and thus we 

He then told us, he thought it would not be an unprofit- 
able adventure, if, before we set forward, and after we had 
got a stock of provisions, we should make a journey north 
to the edge of the desert he had told us of, from whence 
our negroes might bring every one a large elephant's tooth, 
and that he would get some more to assist ; and that, after a 
certain length of carriage, they might be conveyed by canoes 
to the coast, where they would yield a very great profit. 

I objected against this, on account of our other design we 
had of getting gold dust ; and that our negroes, who, we 
knew, would be faithful to us, would get much more by 
searching the rivers for gold for us than by lugging a great 
tooth of a hundred and fifty pounds' weight a hundred 
miles or more, which would be an insufferable labour to 
them after so hard a journey, and would certainly kill them. 

He acquiesced in the justice of this answer, but fain 
would have had us gone to see the woody part of the hill, 
and the edge of the desert, that we might see how the 


elephants' teeth lay scattered up and down there ; but when 
we told him the story of what we had seen before, as is 
said above, he said no more. 

We staid here twelve days, during which time the natives 
were very obliging to us, and brought us fruits, pompions, 
and a root like carrots, though of quite another taste, but 
not unpleasant neither, and some Guinea fowls, whose 
names we did not know. In short, they brought us plenty 
of what they had, and we lived very well, and we gave them 
all such little things as our cutler had made, for he had 
a whole bag full of them. 

On the thirteenth day we set forward, taking our new 
gentleman with us. At parting, the negro king sent two 
savages with a present to him of some dried flesh, but 
I do not remember what it was, and he gave them again 
three silver birds which our cutler helped him to, which 
I assure you was a present for a king. 

We travelled now south, a little west, and here we found 
the first river for above two thousand miles' march whose 
water ran south, all the rest running north or west. We 
followed this river, which was no bigger than a good large 
brook in England, till it began to increase its water. Every 
now and then we found our Englishman went down, as it 
were, privately to the water, which was to try the sand. At 
length, after a day's march upon this river, he came running 
up to us with his hands full of sand, and saying, Look here. 
Upon looking, we found that a good deal of gold lay 
spangled among the sand of the river. Now, says he, 
1 think we may begin to work ; so he divided our negroes 
into couples, and set them to work, to search and wash the 
sand and ooze in the bottom of the water, where it was not 

In the first day and a quarter our men altogether had 


gathered a pound and two ounces of gold, or thereabouts ; 
and, as we found the quantity increased the farther we 
went, we followed it about three days, till another small 
rivulet joined the first, and then, searching up the stream, 
we found gold there too ; so we pitched our camp in the 
angle where the rivers joined, and we diverted ourselves, as 
I may call it, in washing the gold out of the sand of the 
river, and in getting provisions. 

Here we staid thirteen days more, in which time we had 
many pleasant adventures with the savages, too long to 
mention here, and some of them too homely to tell of: for 
some of our men had made something free with their women, 
which, had not our new guide made peace for us with one 
of their men, at the price of seven bits of silver, which our 
artificer had cut out into the shapes of lions and fishes and 
birds, and had punched holes to hang them up by (an 
inestimable treasure !) we must have gone to war with them 
and all their people. 

All the while we were busy washing gold dust out of the 
rivers, and our negroes the like, our ingenious cutler was 
hammering and cutting, and he was grown so dexterous by 
use, that he formed all manner of images. He cut out 
elephants, tigers, civet cats, ostriches, eagles, cranes, fowls, 
fishes, and indeed whatever he pleased, in thin plates of 
hammered gold, for his silver and iron were almost all gone. 

At one of the towns of these savage nations we were very 
friendly received by their king ; and as he was very much 
taken with our workman's toys, he sold him an elephant cut 
out of a gold plate as thin as a sixpence at an extravagant 
rate. He was so much taken with it that he would not be 
quiet till he had given him almost a handful of gold dust, as 
they call it. I suppose it might weigh three quarters of a 
pound ; the piece of gold that the elephant was made of 


might be about the weight of a pistole, rather less than 
more. Our artist was so honest, though the labour and art 
were all his own, that he brought all the gold, and put it 
into our common stock ; but we had indeed no manner of 
reason in the least to be covetous, for, as our new guide told 
us, we that were strong enough to defend ourselves, and had 
time enough to stay (for we were none of us in haste), might 
in time get together what quantity of gold we pleased, even 
to a hundred pounds' weight a man if we thought fit ; and, 
therefore, he told us, though he had as much reason to be 
sick of the country as any of us, yet, if we thought to turn 
our march a little to the south-east and pitch upon a place 
proper for our head-quarters, we might find provisions 
plenty enough, and extend ourselves over the country 
among the rivers for two or three years, to the right and 
left, and we should soon find the advantage of it. 

The proposal, however good as to the profitable part of 
it, suited none of us, for we were all more desirous to get 
home than to be rich, being tired of the excessive fatigue 
of above a year's continual wandering among deserts and 
wild beasts. 

However, the tongue of our new acquaintance had a kind 
of charm in it, and used such arguments, and had so much 
the power of persuasion, that there was no resisting him. 
He told us it was preposterous not to take the fruit of all 
our labours now we were come to the harvest; that we 
might see the hazard the Europeans ran, with ships and 
men, and at great expense, to fetch a little gold ; and that 
we that were in the centre of it to go away empty-handed 
was unaccountable ; that we were strong enough to fight 
our way through whole nations, and might make our 
journey afterward to what part of the coast we pleased ; 
and we should never forgive ourselves when we came to our 


own country, to see we had five hundred pistoles in gold, 
and might as easily have had five thousand or ten thousand, 
or what we pleased ; that he was no more covetous than 
we, but, seeing it was in all our powers to retrieve our 
misfortunes at once, and make ourselves easy for all our 
lives, he could not be faithful to us, or grateful for the good 
we had done him, if he did not let us see the advantage we 
had in our hands ; and he assured us he would make it clear 
to our own understanding that we might, in two years' time, 
by good management, and by the help of our negroes, 
gather every man a hundred pounds' weight of gold, and 
get together perhaps two hundred tons of teeth ; whereas, if 
once we pushed on to the coast, and separated, we should 
never be able to see that place again with our eyes, or do 
any more than sinners did with heaven wish themselves 
there, but know they can never come at it. 

Our surgeon was the first man that yielded to his 
reasoning, and after him the gunner ; and they two indeed 
had a great influence over us, but none of the rest had any 
mind to stay, nor I either, I must confess ; for I had no 
notion of a great deal of money, or what to do with myself, 
or what to do with it if I had it. I thought I had enough 
already, and all the thought I had about disposing of it, if I 
came to Europe, was only how to spend it as fast as I could, 
buy me some clothes, and go to sea again, to be a drudge 
for more. 

However, he prevailed with us by his gooJ words, at last, 
to stay but for six months in the country, and then, if we 
did resolve to go, he would submit : so at length we yielded 
to that, and he carried us about fifty English miles south- 
east, where we found several rivulets of water, which seemed 
to come all from a great ridge of mountains which lay to 
the north-east, and which, by our calculation, must be the 


beginning that way of the great waste, which we had been 
forced northward to avoid. 

Here we found the country barren enough, but yet we 
had, by his directions, plenty of food ; for the savages round 
us, upon giving them some of our toys, as I have so often 
mentioned, brought us in whatever they had ; and here we 
found some maize, or Indian wheat, which the negro-women 
planted as we sow seeds in a garden, and immediately our 
new providitor ordered some of our negroes to plant it, and 
it grew up presently, and, by watering it often, we had a 
crop in less than three months' growth. 

As soon as we were settled, and our camp fixed, we fell 
to the old trade of fishing for gold in the rivers mentioned 
above, and our English gentleman so well knew how to 
direct our search that we scarce ever lost our labour. 

One time, having set us to work, he asked if we would 
give him leave, with four or five negroes, to go out for six 
or seven days, to seek his fortune, and see what he could 
discover in the country, assuring us whatever he got should 
be for the public stock. We all gave him our consent, and 
lent him a gun ; and two of our men desiring to go with 
him, they took then six negroes with them, and two of our 
buffaloes that came with us the whole journey. They took 
about eight days' provision of bread with them, but no flesh, 
except about as much dried flesh as would serve them two 

They travelled up to the top of the mountains I mentioned 
just now, where they saw (as our men afterwards vouched 
it to be) the same desert which we were so justly terrified 
at, when we were on the farther side, and which, by our 
calculation, could not be less than three hundred miles 
broad, and above six hundred miles in length, without 
knowing where it ended. 


The journal of their travels is too long to enter upon 
here; they stayed out two and fifty days, when they brought 
us seventeen pounds, and something more (for we had no 
exact weight), of gold dust, some of it in much larger pieces 
than any we found before ; besides about fifteen ton of 
elephants' teeth, which he had, partly by good usage, and 
partly by bad, obliged the savages of the country to fetch 
and bring down to him from the mountains, and which he 
made others bring with him quite down to our camp. 
Indeed we wondered what was coming to us when we saw 
him attended with above two hundred negroes ; but he soon 
undeceived us when he made them all throw down their 
burthens on a heap at the entrance of our camp. 

Besides this, they brought lions' skins, and five leopards' 
skins, very large and very fine. He asked our pardon for 
his long stay, and that he had made no greater a booty, but 
told us he had one excursion more to make, which he 
hoped should turn to a better account. 

So, having rested himself, and rewarded the savages that 
brought the teeth for him with some bits of silver and iron 
cut out diamond-fashion, and with two shaped like little 
dogs, he sent them away mightily pleased. 

The second journey he went some more of our men 
desired to go with him, and they made a troop of ten white 
men and ten savages, and the two buffaloes to carry their 
provisions and ammunition. They took the same course, 
only not exactly the same track, and they stayed thirty-two 
days only, in which time they killed no less than fifteen 
leopards, three lions, and several other creatures, and 
brought us home four and twenty pounds some ounces of 
gold dust, and only six elephants' teeth, but they were very 
great ones. 

Our friend the Englishman showed us now that our time 


was well bestowed; for in five months, which we had stayed 
here, we had gathered so much gold dust, that, when we 
came to share it, we had five pounds and a quarter to a 
man, besides what we had before, and besides six or seven 
pounds' weight which we had at several times given to our 
artificer to make baubles with. And now we talked of going 
forward to the coast to put an end to our journey ; but our 
guide laughed at us then : Nay, you cannot go now, says 
he, for the rainy season begins next month, and there will 
be no stirring then. This we found indeed reasonable, so 
we resolved to furnish ourselves with provisions, that we 
might not be obliged to go abroad too much in the rain, 
and we spread ourselves, some one way and some another, 
as far as we cared to venture, to get provisions, and our 
negroes killed us some deer, which we cured, as well as we 
could, in the sun, for we had no salt. 

By this time the rainy months were set in, and we could 
scarce, for above two months, look out of our huts. But 
that was not all, for the rivers were so swelled with the 
land-floods that we scarce knew the little brooks and rivulets 
from the great navigable rivers. This had been a very good 
opportunity to have conveyed by water, upon rafts, our 
elephants' teeth, of which we had a very great pile ; for, as 
we always gave the savages some reward for their labour, 
the very women would bring us teeth upon every oppor- 
tunity, and sometimes a great tooth carried between two ; so 
that our quantity was increased to about two and twenty 
tons of teeth. 

As soon as the weather proved fair again, he told us he 
would not press us to any farther stay, since we did not 
care whether we got any more gold or not ; that we were 
indeed the first men he ever met with in his life that said 
they had gold enough, and of whom it might be truly said 


that, when it lay under our feet, we would not stoop to take 
it up. But since he had made us a promise, he would not 
break it, nor press us to make any farther stay, only he 
thought he ought to tell us that now was the time, after the 
land-flood, when the greatest quantity of gold was found ; and 
that, if we stayed but one month, we should see thousands 
of savages spread themselves over the whole country, to 
wash the gold out of the sand, for the European ships which 
would come on the coast ; that they do it then, because the 
rage of the floods always works down a great deal of gold 
out of the hills ; and if we took the advantage to be there 
before them, we did not know what extraordinary things we 
might find. 

This was so forcible, and so well argued, that it appeared 
in all our faces we were prevailed upon ; so we told him we 
would all stay ; for, though it was true we were all eager to 
be gone, yet the evident prospect of so much advantage 
could not be well resisted that he was greatly mistaken 
when he suggested that we did not desire to increase our 
store of gold, and in that we were resolved to make the 
utmost use of the advantage that was in our hands, and 
would stay as long as any gold was to be had, if it was 
another year. 

He could hardly express the joy he was in on this 
occasion ; and the fair weather coming on, we began, just 
as he directed, to search about the rivers for more gold. 
At first we had but little encouragement, and began to be 
doubtful ; but it was very plain that the reason was, the 
water was not fully fallen, or the rivers reduced to their 
usual channel. But in a few days we were fully requited, 
and found much more gold than at first, and in bigger 
lumps ; and one of our men washed out of the sand a piece 
of gold as big as a small nut, which weighed, by our 


estimation, for we had no small weights, almost an ounce 
and a-half. 

This success made us extremely diligent, and in a little 
more than a month we had altogether gotten near sixty 
pounds' weight of gold; but after this, as he told us, we 
found abundance of the savages, men, women, and children, 
hunting every river and brook, and even the dry land of the 
hills, for gold, so that we could do nothing like then, 
compared to what we had done before. 

But our artificer found a way to make other people find 
us in gold without our own labour ; for, when these people 
began to appear, he had a considerable quantity of his toys, 
birds, beasts, etc., such as before, ready for them, and, the 
English gentleman being the intrepreter, he brought the 
savages to admire them ; so our cutler had trade enough, 
and, to be sure, sold his goods at a monstrous rate, for he 
would get an ounce of gold, sometimes two, for a bit of 
silver, perhaps of the value of a groat nay, if it were iron 
and if it were of gold, they would not give the more for 
it ; and it was incredible almost to think what a quantity of 
gold he got that way. 

In a word, to bring this happy journey to a conclusion, 
we increased our stock of gold here, in three months' stay 
more, to such a degree that, bringing it all to a common 
stock, in order to share it, we divided almost four pounds' 
weight again to every man ; and then we set forward for 
the gold coast, to see what method we could find out for 
our passage into Europe. 

There happened several very remarkable incidents in this 
part of our journey, as to how we were, or were not, 
received friendly by the several nations of savages through 
which we passed ; how we delivered one negro king from 
captivity, who had been a benefactor to our new guide; 


and how our guide, in gratitude, by our assistance, restored 
him to his kingdom, which, perhaps, might contain about 
three hundred subjects ; how he entertained us ; and how 
he made his subjects go with our Englishman, and fetch all 
our elephants' teeth which we had been obliged to leave 
behind us, and to carry them for us to the river, the name 
of which I forgot, where we made rafts, and in eleven days 
more came down to one of the Dutch settlements on the 
gold coast, where we arrived in perfect health, and to our 
great satisfaction. As for our cargo of teeth, we sold it to 
the Dutch factory, and received clothes and other neces- 
saries for ourselves, and such of our negroes as we thought 
fit to keep with us ; and it is to be observed that we had 
four pounds of gunpowder left when we ended our journey. 
The negro prince we made perfectly free, clothed him out 
of our common stock, and gave him a pound and a-half of 
gold for himself, which he knew very well how to manage ; 
and here we all parted after the most friendly manner 
possible. Our Englishman remained in the Dutch factory 
some time, and, as I heard afterwards, died there of grief; 
for he having sent a thousand pounds sterling over to 
Engand, by the way of Holland, for his refuge at his return 
to his friends, the ship was taken by the French, and the 
effects all lost. 

The rest of my comrades went away, in a small barque, 
to the two Portuguese factories, near Gambia, in the 
latitude of 14 degrees ; and I, with two negroes which I 
kept with me, went away to Cape Coast Castle, where I got 
passage for England, and arrived there in September ; and 
thus ended my first harvest of wild oats. The rest were not 
sowed to so much advantage. 



I HAD neither friend, relation, nor acquaintance in England, 
though it was ray native country : I had consequently no 
person to trust with what I had, or to counsel me to secure 
or save it ; but, falling into ill company, and trusting the 
keeper of a public-house in Rotherhithe with a great part 
of my money, and hastily squandering away the rest, all 
that great sum, which I got with so much pains and hazard, 
was gone in little more than two years' time; and, as I 
even rage in my own thoughts to reflect upon the manner 
how it was wasted, so I need record no more : the rest 
merits to be concealed with blushes, for that it was spent in 
all kinds of folly and wickedness ; so this scene of my life 
may be said to have begun in theft and ended in luxury a 
sad setting out and a worse coming home. 

About the year 1686 I began to see the bottom of my 
stock, and that it was time to think of farther adventures ; 
for my spoilers, as I call them, began to let me know that 
as my money declined their respect would ebb with it, and 
that I had nothing to expect of them farther than as I 
might command it by the force of my money, which, in 
short, would not go an inch the farther for all that had 
been spent in their favour before. 

This shocked me very much, and I conceived a just 
abhorrence of their ingratitude ; but it wore off. Nor had 
I met with any regret at the wasting so glorious a sum of 
money as I brought to England with me. 

I next shipped myself, in an evil hour to be sure, on a 

voyage to Cadiz, in a ship called the Cruizer, and in the 

course of our voyage, being on the coast of Spain, was 

obliged to put into the Groyn,* by a strong south-west wind. 

* Corunna. 


Here I fell into company with some masters of mischief j 
and, among them, one, forwarder than the rest, began an 
intimate confidence with me, so that we called one another 
brothers, and communicated all our circumstances to one 
another : his name was Harris. This fellow came to me 
one morning, asking me if I would go on shore, and I 
agreed ; so we got the captain's leave for the boat, and 
went together. When we were together, he asked me if I 
had a mind for an adventure that might make amends for 
all past misfortunes ? I told him, Yes, with all my heart ', 
for I did not care where I went, having nothing to lose, 
and nobody to leave behind me. 

He then asked me if I would swear to be secret, and that, 
if I did not agree to what he proposed, I would nevertheless 
never betray him 1 I readily bound myself to that, upon 
the most solemn imprecations and curses that the devil and 
both of us could invent. 

He told me, then, there was a brave fellow in the other 
ship pointing to another English ship which rode in the 
harbour who, in concert with some of the men, had 
resolved to mutiny the next morning, and run away with 
the ship ; and that, if we could get strength enough among 
our ship's company, we might do the same. I liked the 
proposal very well, and he got eight of us to join with him ; 
and he told us that as soon as his friend had begun the 
work, and was master of the ship, we should be ready to do 
the like. This was his plot ; and I, without the least hesi- 
tation, either at the villany of the fact, or the difficulty of 
performing it, came immediately into the wicked conspiracy, 
and so it went on among us ; but we could not bring our 
part to perfection. 

Accordingly, on the day appointed, his correspondent in 
the other ship, whose name was Wilmot, began the work, 



and, having seized the captain's mate and other officers, 
secured the ship, and gave the signal to us. We were but 
eleven in our ship who were in the conspiracy ; nor 
could we get any more that we could trust ; so that, 
leaving the ship, we all took the boat, and went off to join 
the other. 

Having thus left the ship I was in, we were entertained 
with a great deal of joy by Captain Wilraot and his new 
gang ; and, being prepared for all manner of roguery, bold, 
desperate, I mean myself, without the least checks of con- 
science for what I was entered upon, or for anything I 
might do, much less with any apprehension of what might 
be the consequence of it; I say, having thus embarked with 
this crew, which at last brought me to consort with the 
most famous pirates of the age, some of whom have ended 
their journals at the gallows; I think the giving an account 
of some of my other adventures may be an agreeable piece 
of story ; and this I may venture to say beforehand, upon 
the word of a pirate, that I should not be able to recollect 
the full, no not by far, of the great variety which has 
formed one of the most reprobate schemes that ever man 
was capable to present to the world. 

I that was, as I have hinted before, an original thief, 
and a pirate even by inclination before, was now in my 
element, and never undertook anything in my life with 
more particular satisfaction. 

Captain Wilmot (for so we are now to call him) being 
thus possessed of a ship, and in the manner as you have 
heard, it may be easily concluded he had nothing to do to 
stay in the port, or to wait either the attempts that might 
be made from the shore, or any change which might happen 
among his men. On the contrary, we weighed anchor the 
same tide, and stood out to sea, steering away for the 


Canaries. Our ship had twenty-two guns, but was able to 
carry thirty ; and besides, as she was fitted out for a mer- 
chant ship only, she was not furnished either with ammuni- 
tion or small arms sufficient for our design, or for the 
occasion we might have in case of a fight ; so we put into 
Cadiz, that is to say, we came to an anchor in the bay; and 
the captain, and one whom we called young Captain Kid, 
who was the gunner, and some of the men, who could best 
be trusted, among whom was my comrade Harris, who was 
made second mate, and myself, who was made a lieutenant. 
Some bales of English goods were proposed to be carried on" 
shore with us for sale ; but my comrade, who was a com- 
plete fellow at his business, proposed a better way for it ; 
and, having been in the town before, told us, in short, that 
he would buy what powder and bullet, small arms, or any- 
thing else we wanted, on his own word, to be paid for when 
they came on board, in such English goods as we had there. 
This was by much the best way, and accordingly he and 
the captain went on shore by themselves, and, having made 
such a bargain as they found for their turn, came away 
again in two hours' time, and bringing only a butt of wine, 
and five casks of brandy with them, we all went on board 

The next morning two barco-longoes came off to us 
deeply loaden, with five Spaniards on board them, for 
traffic. Our captain sold them good pennyworths, and they 
delivered us sixteen barrels of powder, twelve small rund- 
lets of fine powder for our small arms, sixty muskets, and 
twelve fusees for the officers ; seventeen tons of cannon-ball, 
fifteen barrels of musket-bullets, with some swords, and 
twenty good pair of pistols. Besides this they brought 
thirteen butts of wine (for we, that were now all become 
gentlemen, scorned to drink the ship's beer), also sixteen 


puncheons of brandy, with twelve barrels of raisins, and 
twenty chests of lemons ; all which were paid for in English 
goods ; and, over and above, the captain received six 
hundred pieces of eight in money. They would have come 
again, but we would stay no longer. 

From hence we sailed to the Canaries, and from thence 
onward to the West Indies, where we committed some 
depredation upon the Spaniards for provisions, and took 
some prizes, but none of any great value, while I remained 
with them, which was not long at that time ; for, having 
taken a Spanish sloop on the Coast of Carthagena, uiy 
friend made a motion to me that we should desire Captain 
Wilmot to put us into the sloop, with a proportion of arms 
and ammunition, and let us try what we could do, she 
being much fitter for our business than the great ship, and 
a better sailer. This he consented to, and we appointed 
our rendezvous at Tobago, making an agreement, that 
whatever was taken by either of our ships should be 
shared among the ship's company of both; all which 
we very punctually observed, and joined our ships again, 
about fifteen months after, at the island of Tobago, as 

We cruised near two years in those seas, chiefly upon the 
Spaniards ; not that we made any difficulty of taking 
English ships, or Dutch, or French, if they came in our 
way ; and particularly Captain Wilmot attacked a New 
England ship bound from the Madeiras to Jamaica, and 
another bound from New York to Barbadoes, with pro- 
visions ; which last was a very happy supply to us. But 
the reason why we meddled as little with English vessels as 
we could was, first, because, if they were ships of any 
force, we were sure of more resistance from them ; and, 
secondly, because we found the English ships had less booty 


when taken ; for the Spaniards generally had money on 
board, and that was what we best knew what to do with. 
Captain Wilmot was indeed more particularly cruel when 
he took any English vessel, that they might not too soon 
have advice of him in England, and so the men-of-war 
have orders to look out for him. But this part I bury in 
silence for the present. 

We increased our stock in these two years considerably, 
having taken sixty thousand pieces of eight in one vessel, 
and a hundred thousand in another ; and being thus first 
grown rich, we resolved to be strong too ; for we had taken 
a brigantine built at Virginia, an excellent sea-boat, and a 
good sailer, and able to carry twelve guns ; and a large 
Spanish frigate-built ship, that sailed incomparably well also, 
and which afterwards, by the help of good carpenters, we 
fitted up to carry twenty-eight guns. And now we wanted 
more hands, so we put away for the bay of Campeachy, not 
doubting we should ship as many men there as we pleased ; 
and so we did. 

Here we sold the sloop that I was in ; and Captain 
Wilmot keeping his own ship, I took the command of the 
Spanish frigate, as captain ; and my comrade Harris as 
eldest lieutenant ; and a bold enterprising fellow he was, as 
any the world afforded. One culverdine* was put into the 
brigantine, so that we were now three stout ships, well 
manned, and victualled for twelve months ; for we had taken 
two or three sloops from New England and New York, laden 
with flour, pease, and barrelled beef and pork, going for 
Jamaica and Barbadoes ; and for more beef we went on shore 
on the isle of Cuba, where we killed as many black cattle as 
we pleased, though we had very little salt to cure them. 

Out of all the prizes we took here, we took their powder 

* A favourite sea-gun of large bore and long range. 


and bullet, their small arms and cutlasses ; and as for their 
men, "we always took the surgeon and the carpenter, as 
persons who were of particular use to us upon many 
occasions. Nor were they always unwilling to go with us ; 
though for their own security, in case of accidents, they 
might easily pretend they were carried away by force ; of 
which I shall give a pleasant account in the course of my 
other expeditions. 

We had one very merry fellow here, a Quaker, whose 
name was "William "Walters, whom we took out of a sloop 
bound from Pennsylvania to Barbadoes. He was a surgeon, 
and they called him doctor ; but he was not employed in the 
sloop as a surgeon, but was going to Barbadoes to get a 
birth, as the sailors call it. However, he had all his 
surgeon's chest on board, and we made him go with us, and 
take all his implements with him. He was a comic fellow 
indeed, a man of very good solid sense, and an excellent 
surgeon ; but, what was worth all, very good humoured, and 
pleasant in his conversation, and a bold, stout fellow too, as 
any we had among us. 

I found William, as I thought, not very averse to go along 
with us, and yet resolved to do it so, that it might be 
apparent he was taken away by force ; and, to this purpose, 
he comes to me : Friend, says he, thou sayest I must go 
with thee, and it is not in my power to resist thee, if I 
would \ but I desire thou wilt oblige the master of the sloop 
which I am on board, to certify under his hand that I was 
taken away by force and against my will. And this he 
said with so much satisfaction in his face, that I could not 
but understand him. Ay, ay, says I, whether it be against 
your will or no, I'll make him and all the men give you a 
certificate of it, or I'll take them all along with us, and 
keep them till they do. So I drew up the certificate myself, 


wherein I wrote that he was taken away by main force, as a 
prisoner, by a pirate ship ; that they carried away his chest 
and instruments first, and then bound his hands behind him, 
and forced him into their boat ; and this was signed by the 
master and all his men. 

Accordingly I fell a swearing at him, and called to my 
men to tie his hands behind him, and so we put him into 
our boat and carried him away. When I had him on board 
I called him to me ; Now, friend, says I, I have brought you 
away by force, it is true, but I am not of the opinion I 
have brought you away so much against your will as, they 
imagine ; come, says I, you will be a useful man to us, 
and you shall have very good usage among us. So I 
unbound his hands, and first ordered all things that belonged 
to him to be restored to him, and our captain gave him a 

Thou hast dealt friendly by me, says he, and I will be 
plain with thee, whether I came willingly to thee or not. I 
shall make myself as useful to thee as I can ; but thou 
knowest it is not my business to meddle when thou art to 
fight. No, no, says the captain, but you may meddle a little 
when we share the money. Those things are useful to 
furnish a surgeon's chest, says William, and smiled, but I 
shall be moderate. 

In short, William was a most agreeable companion ; but 
he had the better of us in this part, that, if we were taken, 
we were sure to be hanged, and he was sure to escape ; and 
he knew it well enough ; but, in short, he was a sprightly 
fellow, and fitter to be captain than any of us. I shall have 
often an occasion to speak of him in the rest of the story. 

Our cruising so long in these seas began now to be so well 
known, that, not in England only, but in France and Spain, 
accounts had been made public of our adventures, and many 


stories told how we murdered the people in cold blood, tying 
them back to back and throwing them into the sea ; one 
half of which, however, was not true, though more was done 
than it is fit to speak of here. 

The consequence of this, however, was, that several 
English men-of-war were sent to the West Indies, and were 
particularly instructed to cruise in the bay of Mexico, and 
the Gulf of Florida, and among the Bahama Islands, if 
possible, to attack .us. We were not so ignorant of things as 
not to expect this, after so long a stay in that part of the 
world ; but the first certain account we had of them was at 
Honduras, when a vessel coming in from Jamaica told us 
that two English men-of-war were coming directly from 
Jamaica thither in quest of us. We were, indeed, as it were 
embayed, and could not have made the least shift to have 
got off if they had come directly to us ; but as it happened, 
somebody had informed them that we were in the bay of 
Campeachy, and they went directly thither, by which we 
were not only free of them, but were so much to the wind- 
ward of them, that they could not make any attempt upon 
us, though they had known we were there. 

We took this advantage, and stood away for Carthagena, 
and from thence with great difficulty beat it up at a distance 
from under the shore of St. Martha, till we came to the 
Dutch island of Curasoe, and from thence to the island of 
Tobago ; which, as before, was our rendezvous ; and it being 
a deserted, uninhabited island, we at the same time made 
use of it for a retreat. Here the captain of the brigantine 
died, and Captain Harris, at that time my lieutenant, took 
the command of the brigantine. 

Here we came to a resolution to go away to the coast of 
Brazil, and from thence to the Cape of Good Hope, and so 
for the East Indies ; but Captain Harris, as I have said, 


being now captain of the brigantine, alleged that his ship 
was too small for so long a voyage ; but that, if Captain 
Wilmot would consent, he would take the hazard of another 
cruise, and he would follow us in the first ship he could 
take ; so we appointed our rendezvous to be at Madagascar, 
which was done by my recommendation of the place, and 
the plenty of provisions to be had there. 

Accordingly he went away from us in an evil hour; for, 
instead of taking a ship to follow us, he was taken, as I 
heard afterwards, by an English man-of-war, and being laid 
in irons, died of mere grief and anger before he came to 
England. His lieutenant, I have heard, was afterwards 
executed in England for a pirate, and this was the end of 
the man who first brought me into this unhappy trade. 

We parted from Tobago three days after, bending our 
course for the coast of Brazil, but had not been at sea above 
twenty-four hours when we were separated by a terrible 
storm, which held three days, with very little abatement or 
intermission. In this juncture Captain Wilmot happened 
unluckily to be on board my ship, very much to his mortifi- 
cation ; for we not only lost sight of his ship, but never saw 
her more till we came to Madagascar, where she was cast 
away. In short, after having in this tempest lost our fore- 
topmast, we were forced to put back to the isle of Tobago 
for shelter, and to repair our damage, which brought us all 
very near our destruction. 

We were no sooner on shore here, and all very busy look- 
ing out for a piece of timber for a topmast, but we perceived, 
standing in for the shore, an English man-of-war of thirty- 
six guns. It was a great surprise to us indeed, because we 
were disabled so much ; but to our great good fortune, we 
lay pretty snug and close among the high rocks, and the 
man-of-war did not see us, but stood off again upon his 


cruise ; so we only observed which way she went, and at 
night, leaving our work, resolved to stand off to sea, steering 
the contrary way from that which we observed she went ; 
and this we found had the desired success, for we saw him 
no more. We had gotten an old mizen topmast on board, 
which made us a jury fore-topmast for the present; and so 
we stood away for the isle of Trinidad, where, though there 
were Spaniards on shore, yet we landed some men with our 
boat, and cut a very good piece of fir to make us a new top- 
mast, which we got fitted up effectually ; and also we got 
some cattle here to eke out our provisions ; and, calling a 
council of war among ourselves, we resolved to quit those 
seas for the present, and steer away for the coast of Brazil. 

The first thing we attempted here was only getting fresh 
water ; but we learnt that there lay the Portuguese fleet at 
the bay of All-Saints, bound for Lisbon, ready to sail, and 
only waiting for a fair wind. This made us lie by, wishing 
to see them put to sea, and accordingly as they were, with 
or without convoy, to attack or avoid them. 

It sprung up a fresh gale in the evening, at S.W. by W., 
which, being fair for the Portugal fleet, and the weather 
pleasant and agreeable, we heard the signal given to unmoor, 

and, running in under the island of Si , we hauled our 

mainsail and foresail up in the brails, lowered the topsail 
upon the cap, and clewed them up, that we might lie as 
snug as we could, expecting their coming out, and the next 
morning saw the whole fleet come out accordingly, but not 
at all to our satisfaction, for they consisted of twenty-six 
sail, and most of them ships of force as well as burthen, 
both merchantmen and men-of-war ; so, seeing there was no 
meddling, we lay still where we were also, till the fleet was 
out of sight, and then stood off and on, in hopes of meeting 
with further purchase. 


It was not long before we saw a sail, and immediately 
gave her chase ; but she proved an excellent sailer, and, 
standing out to sea, we saw plainly she trusted to her heels 
that is to say, to her sails. However, as we were a clean 
ship, we gained upon her, though slowly, and, had we had 
a day before us, we should certainly have come up with her ; 
but it grew dark apace, and in that case we knew we should 
lose sight of her. 

Our merry quaker, perceiving us to crowd still after her 
in the dark, wherein we could not see which way she went, 
came very drily to me : Friend Singleton, says he, dost thee 
know what we are doing 1 Says I, Yes ; why, we are 
chasing yon ship, are we not ? And how dost thou know 
that 1 says he, very gravely still. Nay, that's true, says I 
again ; we cannot be sure. Yes, friend, says he, I think 
we may be sure that we are running away from her, not 
chasing her. I am afraid, adds he, thou art turned quaker, 
and hast resolved not to use the hand of power, or art a 
coward, and art flying from thy enemy. 

What do you mean 1 says I (I think I swore at him) ; 
what do ye sneer at now 1 you have always one dry rub or 
another to give us. 

Nay, says he, it is plain enough the ship stood off to sea 
due east, on purpose to lose us, and thou mayest be sure 
her business does not lie that way ; for what should she do 
at the coast of Africa in this latitude, which should be as 
far south as Congo or Angola 1 But as soon as it is dark, 
that we shall lose sight of her, she will tack, and stand away 
west again for the Brazil coast, and for the bay, where, thou 
knowest, she was going before ; and are we not then running 
away from her ? I am greatly in hopes, friend, says the dry 
gibing creature, thou wilt turn quaker, for 1 see thou art 
not for fighting. 


Very well, William, says I, then I shall make an excel- 
lent pirate. However, William was in the right, and I 
apprehended what he meant immediately ; and Captain 
Wilmot, who lay very sick in his cabin, overhearing us, 
understood him as well as I, and called out to me that 
William was right, and it was our best way to change our 
course, and stand away for the bay, where it was ten to one 
but we should snap her in the morning. 

Accordingly we went about ship, got our larboard tacks 
on board, set the topgallant sails, and crowded for the bay 
of All-Saints, where we came to an anchor early in the 
morning, just out of gun-shot of the forts. We furled our 
sails with rope-yarns, that we might haul home the sheets 
without going up to loose them, and, lowering our main 
and fore-yards, looked just as if we had lain there a good 

In two hours after we saw our game standing in for the 
bay with all the sail she could make, and she came inno- 
cently into our very mouths, for we lay still till we saw her 
almost within gun-shot, when our fore-mast geers being 
stretched fore and aft, we first ran up our yards, and then 
hauled home the top-sail sheets ; the rope-yarns that furled 
them giving way of themselves, the sails were set in a few 
minutes; at the same time slipping our cable, we came 
upon her before she could get under way upon the other 
tack. They were so surprised that they made little or no 
resistance, but struck after the first broadside. 

We were considering what to do with her, when William 
came to me : Hark thee, friend, says he, thou hast made a 
fine piece of work of it now, hast thou not \ To borrow 
thy neighbour's ship here just at thy neighbour's door, and 
never ask him leave. Now, dost thou not think there are 
some men-of-war in the port ? Thou hast given them the 


alarm sufficiently ; thou wilt have them upon thy back 
before night, depend upon it, to ask thee wherefore thou 
didst so. 

Truly, William, said I, for ought I know, that may be 
true. What, then, shall we do next ? Says he, Thou hast 
but two things to do, either to go in and take all the rest, 
or else get thee gone before they come out and take thee ; 
for I see they are hoisting a topmast to yon great ship, in 
order to put to sea immediately, and they won't be long 
before they come to talk with thee ; and what wilt thou 
say to them when they ask thee why thou borrowest their 
ship without leave ? 

As William said, so it was : we could see by our glasses 
they were all in a hurry, manning and fitting some sloops 
they had there, and a large man-of-war, and it was plain 
they would soon be with us ; but we were not at a loss what 
to do. We found the ship we had taken was loaden with 
nothing considerable for our purpose, except some cocoa, 
some sugar, and twenty barrels of flour ; the rest of her 
loading was hides ; so we took out all we thought for our 
turn, and, among the rest, all her ammunition, great shot, 
and small arms, and turned her off; we also took a cable 
and three anchors she had, which were for our purpose, and 
some of her sails. She had enough left just to carry her 
into port, and that was all. 


HAVING done this, we stood on upon the Brazil coast, south- 
ward, till we came to the mouth of the river Janeiro ; but, 
as we had two days the wind blowing hard at S.E. and 
S.S.E., we were obliged to come to an anchor under a little 


island, and wait for a wind. In this time, the Portuguese 
had, it seems, given notice overland to the governor there, 
that a pirate was upon the coast ; so that, when we came 
in view of the port, we saw two men-of-war riding just 
without the bar, whereof one we found was getting under 
sail, with all possible speed, having slipt her cable, on 
purpose to speak with us ; the other was not so forward, 
but was preparing to follow. In less than an hour they 
stood both fair after us, with all the sail they could make. 

Had not the night come on, William's words had been 
made good ; they would certainly have asked us the ques- 
tion, what we did there \ for we found the foremost ship 
gained upon us, especially upon one tack ; for we plied 
away from them to windward ; but in the dark losing sight 
of them, we resolved to change our course, and stand away 
directly to sea, not doubting but we should lose them in 
the night. 

Whether the Portuguese commander guessed we would 
do so or no, I know not ; but in the morning, when the 
daylight appeared, instead of having lost him, we found him 
in chase of us, about a league astern ; only, to our great 
good fortune, we could see but one of the two ; however, 
this one was a great ship, carried six and forty guns, and 
an admirable sailer, as appeared by her outsailing us ; for 
our ship was an excellent sailer too, as I have said before. 

When I found this, I easily saw there was no remedy, 
but we must engage ; and, as we knew we could expect no 
quarters from those scoundrels, the Portuguese, a nation I 
had an original aversion to, I let Captain Wilmot know 
how it was. The captain, sick as he was, jumped up in the 
cabin, and would be led out upon the deck (for he was very 
weak), to see how it was. Well, says he, we'll tight them. 

Our men were all in good heart before ; but, to see the 


captain so brisk, who had lain ill of a calenture ten or eleven 
days, gave them double courage, and they went all hands to 
work to make a clear ship and be ready. William the 
quaker comes to me with a kind of smile : Friend, says he, 
what does yon ship follow us for ? Why, says I, to fight us, 
you may be sure. Well, says he, and will she come up 
with us, dost thou think ? Yes, said I, you see she will. 
Why then, friend, says the dry wretch, why dost thou run 
from her still, when thou seest she will overtake thee? will 
it be better for us to be overtaken further off than here 1 
Much at one for that, says I ; why, what would you have 
us do 1 Do ! says he, let us not give the poor man more 
trouble than needs must ; let us stay for him, and hear 
what he has to say to us. He will talk to us in powder 
and ball, said I. Very well then, says he, if that be his 
country language, we must talk to him in the same, must 
we not 1 or else how shall he understand us ? Yery well, 
William, says I, we understand you. And the captain, as 
ill as he was, called to me, William's right again, says he, 
as good here as a league further. So he gave a word of 
command, Haul up the mainsail ; we'll shorten sail for 

Accordingly we shortened sail ; and, as we expected her 
upon our lee-side, we being then upon our starboard tack, 
brought eighteen of our guns to the larboard side, resolving 
to give him a broadside that should warm him ; it was about 
half an hour before he came up with us, all which time we 
luffed up, that we might keep the wind of him, by which he 
was obliged to run up under our lee, as we designed him ; 
when we got him upon our quarter, we edged down, and 
received the fire of five or six of his guns ; by this time you 
may be sure all our hands were at their quarters, so we 
clapped our helm hard a-weather, let go the lee-braces of 


the main top-sail, and laid it a-back, and so our ship fell 
athwart the Portuguese ship's hawse ; then we immediately 
poured in our broadside, raking them fore and aft, and 
killed them a great many men. 

The Portuguese, we could see, were in the utmost con- 
fusion ; and, not being aware of our design, their ship 
having fresh way, ran their bowsprit into the fore part of 
our main shrouds, as that they could not easily get clear of 
us, and so we lay locked after that manner. The enemy 
could not bring above two or three guns, besides their small 
arms, to bear upon us, while we played our whole broadside 
upon him. 

In the middle of the heat of this fight, as I was very busy 
upon the quarter-deck, the captain calls to me, for he never 
stirred from us, What the devil is friend William a-doing 
yonder, says the captain ; has he any business upon deck ? I 
stept forward, and there was friend William, with two or 
three stout fellows, lashing the ship's bowsprit fast to our 
mainmast, for fear they should get away from us; and every 
now and then he pulled a bottle out of his pocket, and gave 
the men a dram to encourage them. The shot flew about 
his ears as thick as may be supposed in such an action, 
where the Portuguese, to give them their due, fought very 
briskly, believing at first they were sure of their game, and 
trusting to their superiority; but there was William, as 
composed, and in as perfect tranquillity as to danger, as if 
he had been over a bowl of punch, only very busy securing 
the matter, that a ship of forty-six guns should not run 
away from a ship of eight^and-twenty. 

This work was too hot to hold long ; our men behaved 
bravely ; our gunner, a gallant man, shouted below, pouring 
in his shot at such a rate, that the Portuguese began to 
slacken their fire ; we had dismounted several of their guns 


by firing in at their forecastle, and raking them, as I said, 
fore and aft ; and presently comes William up to me : 
Friend, says he, very calmly, what dost thou mean \ Why 
dost thou not visit thy neighbour in the ship, the door being 
open for thee 1 I understood him immediately, for our guns 
had so torn their hull, that we had beat two port-holes into 
one, and the bulk-head of their steerage was split to pieces, 
so that they could not retire to their close quarters. I then 
gave the word immediately to board them. Our second 
lieutenant, with about thirty men, entered in an instant 
over the forecastle, followed by some more, with the boat- 
swain, and cutting in pieces about twenty-five men that 
they found upon the deck, and then, throwing some 
grenadoes into the steerage, they entered there also ; upon 
which the Portuguese cried quarter presently, and we 
mastered the ship, contrary indeed to our own expectation ; 
for we would have compounded with them, if they would 
have sheered off, but laying them athwart the hawse at first, 
and following our fire furiously, without giving them any 
time to get clear of us, and work their ship. By this means, 
though they had six-and -forty guns, they were not able to 
point them forward, as I said above, for we beat them 
immediately from their guns in the forecastle, and killed 
them abundance of men between decks, so that, when we 
entered, they had hardly found men enough to fight us 
hand to hand upon their deck. 

The surprise of joy to hear the Portuguese cry quarter, 
and see their ancient struck, was so great to our captain, 
who, as I have said, was reduced very weak with a high 
fever, that it gave him new life. Nature conquered the 
distemper, and the fever abated that very night ; so that in 
two or three days he was sensibly better, his strength began 
to cotuc, and he was able to give his orders effectually in 



everything that was material, and in about ten days was 
entirely well, and about the ship. 

In the meantime I took possession of the Portuguese 
man-of-war ; and Captain Wilmot made me, or rather I 
made myself, captain of her for the present. About thirty 
of their seamen took service with us, some of whom were 
French, some Genoese ; and we set the rest on shore the 
next day, on a little island on the coast of Brazil, except 
some wounded men, who were not in a condition to be 
removed, and whom we were bound to keep on board ; 
but we had an occasion afterwards to dispose of them 
at the Cape, where, at their own request, we set them 
on shore. 

Captain Wilmot, as soon as the ship was taken, and 
the prisoners stowed, was for standing in for the river 
Janeiro again, not doubting that we should meet with 
the other man-of-war, who, not having been able to find 
us, and having lost the company of her comrade, would 
certainly be returned, and might be surprised by the 
ship we had taken, if we carried Portuguese colours; 
and our men were all for it. 

But our friend William gave us better counsel ; for 
he came to me. Friend, says he, I understand the captain 
is for sailing back to the Rio Janeiro, in hopes to meet 
with the other ship that was in chase of thee yesterday. 
Is it true; dost thou intend it? Why, yes, says I, William, 
pray why not ? Nay, says he, thou mayest do so if thou 
wilt. Well, I know that too, William, said I ; but the 
captain is a man who will be ruled by reason ; what have 
you to say to it? Why, says William, gravely, I only 
ask what is thy business, and the business of all the 
people thou hast with thee ? Is it not to get money ? 
Yes, William, it is so, in our honest way. And wouldst 


thou, says he, rather have money without fighting, or 
fighting without money 1 I mean, which wouldst thou 
have by choice, suppose it to be left to thee ? O Willianij 
says I, the first of the two, to be sure. "Why then, 
says he, what great gain hast thou make of the prize 
thou hast taken now, though it has cost thee the lives 
of thirteen of thy men, besides some hurt ? It is true, 
thou hast got the ship and some prisoners ; but thou 
wouldst have had twice the booty in a merchant ship, 
with not one quarter of the fighting ; and how dost thou 
know either what force, or what number of men, 
may be in the other ship, and what loss thou mayest 
suffer, and what gain it shall be to thee, if thou take 
her? I think indeed thou mayest much better let her 

Why, William, it is true, said I, and I'll go tell the 
captain what your opinion is, and bring you word what 
he says. Accordingly I went to the captain, and told 
him William's reasons ; and the captain was of his mind 
that our business was indeed fighting when we could 
not help it, but that our main affair was money, and 
that with as few blows as we could. So that adventure 
was laid aside, and we stood along-shore again south for 
the river de la Plata, expecting some purchase there- 
abouts ; especially we had our eyes upon some of the 
Spanish ships from Buenos Ayres, which are generally 
/ery rich in silver, and one such prize would have done 
our business. We plied about here, in the latitude of 
near 22 degrees south, for near a month, and nothing 
offered ; and here we began to consult what we should 
do next, for we had come to no resolution yet. Indeed 
my design was always for the Cape de Bona Speranza, 
and so to the East Indies. I had heard some flaming 


stories of Captain Avery,* and the fine things he had 
dono in the Indies, which were doubled and doubled, 
even ten thousandfold ; and from taking a great prize 
in the bay of Bengal, where he took a lady, said to be 
the Great Mogul's daughter, with a great quantity of 
jewels about her, we had a story told us, that he took 
a Mogul ship, so the foolish sailors called it, loaden with 

I would fain have had friend William's advice whither 
we should go ; but he always put it off with some quaking 
quibble or other. In short, he did not care for directing us 
neither. Whether he made a piece of conscience of it, or 
whether he did not care to venture having it come against 
him afterwards or no, this I know not ; but we concluded 
at last without him. 

We were, however, pretty long in resolving, and hank- 
ered about the Rio de la Plata a long time. At last we 
spied a sail to windward, and it was such a sail as I believe 
had not been seen in that part of the world a great while. 
It wanted not that we should give it chase, for it stood 
directly towards us, as well as they that steered could make 
it, and even that was more accident of weather than any- 
thing else ; for, if the wind had chopt about anywhere, they 
must have gone with it. I leave any man that is a sailor, 
or understands anything of a ship, to judge what a figure 
this ship made when we first saw her, and what we could 
imagine was the matter with her. Her main topmast was 
come by the board, about six feet above the cap, and fell 
forward, the head of the top-gallant mast hanging in the 
fore shrouds by the stay ; at the same time the pareil of 
the mizen topsail yard, by some accident, giving way, the 

* Defoe had already published an account of this celebrated free- 


inizen topsail braces (the standing part of which being fast 
to the main topsail shrouds) brought the mizen topsail, 
yard and all, down with it, which spread over part of the 
quarter-deck like an awning ; the fore topsail was hoisted 
up two-thirds of the mast, but the sheets were flown ; the 
fore-yard was lowered down upon the forecastle, the sail 
loose, and part of it hanging overboard. In this manner 
she came down upon us with the wind quartering. In a 
word, the figure the whole ship made was the most con- 
founding to men that understood the sea that ever was 
seen. She had no boat, neither had she any colours out. 

When we came near to her we fired a gun to bring her 
to. She took no notice of it, nor of us, but came on just as 
she did before. We fired again, but it was all one. At 
length we came within pistol-shot of one another, but 
nobody answered nor appeared ; so we began to think that 
it was a ship gone ashore somewhere in distress, and, the 
men having forsaken her, the high tide had floated her 
off to sea. Coming nearer to her, we run up alongside of 
her so close that we could hear a noise within her, and see 
the motion of several people through her ports. 

Upon this we manned out two boats full of men, and 
very well armed, and ordered them to board her at the same 
minute, as near as they could, and to enter, one at her fore- 
chains on one side, and the other amid-ship on the other 
side. As soon as they came to the ship's side, a surprising 
multidude of black sailors, such as they were, appeared 
upon deck, and, in short, terrified our men so much, that 
the boat which was to enter her men in the waist stood off 
again, and durst not board her ; and the men that entered 
out of the other boat, finding the first boat, as they thought, 
beaten off, and seeing the ship full of men, jumped all back 
again into their boat, and put off, not knowing what the 


matter was. Upon this we prepared to pour in a broadside 
upon her ; but our friend William set us to rights again 
here ; for it seems he guessed how it was sooner than we 
did ; and coming up to me (for it was our ship that came up 
with her), Friend, says he, I am of opinion thou art wrong 
in this matter, and thy men have been wrong also in their 
conduct : I'll tell thee how thou shalt take this ship, with- 
out making use of those things called guns. How can that 
be, William 1 said I. Why, said he, thou mayst take her 
with thy helm : thou seest they keep no steerage, and thou 
seest the condition they are in ; board her with thy ship 
under her lee quarter, and so enter her from the ship : I 
am persuaded thou wilt take her without fighting ; for there 
is some mischief has befallen the ship, which we know 
nothing of. 

Jn a word, it being a smooth sea, and little wind, I took 
his advice, and laid her aboard. Immediately our men 
entered the ship, where we found a large ship, with 
upwards of six hundred negroes, men and women, boys 
and girls, and not one Christian or white man on board. 

I was struck with horror at the sight ; for immediately I 
concluded, as was partly the case, that these black devils 
had got loose, had murdered all the white men, and thrown 
them into the sea ; and I had no sooner told my mind to 
the men, but the thought of it so enraged them, that I had 
much ado to keep my men from cutting them all in pieces. 
But William, with many persuasions, prevailed upon them, 
by telling them that it was nothing but what, if they were 
in the negroes' condition, they would do if they could ; and 
that the negroes had really the highest injustice done them, 
to be sold for slaves without their consent ; and that the 
law of nature dictated it to them ; that they ought not to 
kill them, and that it would be wilful murder to do it. 


This prevailed with them, and cooled their first heat ; so 
they only knocked down twenty or thirty of them, and 
the rest ran all down between decks to their first places, 
believing, as we fancied, that we were their first masters 
come again. 

It was a most unaccountable difficulty we had next ; for 
we could not make them understand one word we said, nor 
could we understand one word ourselves that they said. 
We endeavoured by signs to ask them whence they came ; 
but they could make nothing of it. We pointed to the 
great cabin, to the round-house, to the cook-roona, then to 
our faces, to ask if they had no white men on board, and 
where they were gone ; but they could not understand 
what we meant. On the other hand, they pointed to our 
boat and to their ship, asking questions as well as they 
could, and said a thousand things, and expressed themselves 
with great earnestness ; but we could not understand a 
word of it all, or know what they meant by any of their 

We knew very well they must have been taken on board 
the ship as slaves, and that it must be by some European 
people too. We could easily see that the ship was a Dutch- 
built ship, but very much altered, having been built upon, 
and, as we supposed, in France ; for we found two or three 
French books on board, and afterwards we found clothes, 
linen, lace, some old shoes, and several other things. We 
found, among the provisions, some barrels of Irish beef, 
some Newfoundland fish, and several other evidences that 
there had been Christians on board, but saw no remains of 
them. We found not a sword, gun, pistol, or weapon of 
any kind, except some cutlasses ; and the negroes had hid 
them below, where they lay. We asked them what was 
become of all the small arms, pointing to our own, and to 


the places where those belonging to the ship had hung. 
One of the negroes understood me presently, and beckoned 
to me to come up upon the deck, where, taking my fusee, 
which I never let go out of my hand for some time after we 
had mastered the ship I say, offering to take hold of it, he 
made the proper motion of throwing it into the sea ; by 
which I understood, as I did afterwards, that they had 
thrown all the small arms, powder, shot, swords, etc., into 
the sea, believing, as I supposed, those things would kill 
them, though the men were gone. 

After we understood this, we made no question but that 
the ship's crew, having been surprised by these desperate 
rogues, had gone the same way, and had been thrown over- 
board also. We looked all over the ship to see if we could 
find any blood, and we thought we did perceive some in 
several places ; but the heat of the sun melting the pitch 
and tar upon the decks made it impossible for us to discern 
it exactly, except in the round-house, where we plainly saw 
that there had been much blood. \Ve found the skuttle 
open, by which we supposed the captain and those that 
were with him had made their retreat into the great cabin, 
or those in the cabin had made their escape up into the 

But that which confirmed us most of all in what had 
happened was, that upon farther inquiry we found that 
there were seven or eight of the negroes very much wounded, 
two or three of them with shot ; whereof one had his leg 
broke, and lay in a miserable condition, the flesh being 
mortified, and, as our friend William said, in two days 
more he would have died. William was a most dexterous 
surgeon, and he showed it in this cure ; for though all the 
surgeons we had on board both our ships (and we had no 
less than five that called themselves bred surgeons, besides 


two or three who were pretenders or assistants) though all 
these gave their opinions that the negro's leg must be cut 
off, and that his life could not be saved without it ; that 
the mortification had touched the marrow in the bone ; that 
the tendons were mortified, and that he could never have 
the use of his leg, if it should be cured ; William said 
nothing in general, but that his opinion was otherwise, and 
that he desired that the wound might be searched, and that 
he would then tell them farther. Accordingly he went to 
work with the leg ; and, as he desired he might have some 
of the surgeons to assist him, we appointed him two of the 
ablest of them to help, and all of them to look on if they 
thought fit. 

William went to work his own way, and some of them 
pretended to find fault at first. However, he proceeded, 
and searched every part of the leg where he suspected the 
mortification had touched it ; in a word, he cut off a great 
deal of mortified flesh, in all which the poor fellow felt no 
pain. William proceeded till he brought the vessels which 
he had cut to bleed, and the man to cry out ; then he 
reduced the splinters of the bone, and calling for help, set 
it, as we call it, and bound it up, and laid the man to rest, 
who found himself much easier than before. 

At the first opening, the surgeons began to triumph ; the 
mortification seemed to spread, and a long red streak of 
blood appeared from the wound upwards to the middle of 
the man's thigh, and the surgeons told me the man would 
die in a few hours. I went to look at it, and found William 
himself under some surprise; but when I asked him how 
long he thought the poor fellow could live, he looked gravely 
up at me, and said, As long as thou canst : I am not at all 
apprehensive of his life, said he ; but I would cure him, if 
\ could, without making a cripple of him. I found he was 


not just then upon the operation, as to his leg, but was 
mixing up something to give the poor creature, to repel, as 
I thought, the spreading contagion, and to abate or prevent 
any feverish temper that might happen in the blood ; after 
which he went to work again, and opened the leg in two 
places above the wound, cutting out a great deal of morti- 
fied flesh, which, it seems, was occasioned by the bandage, 
which had pressed the parts too much ; and withal, the 
blood being at that time in a more than common disposition 
to mortify, might assist to spread it. 

Well, our friend William conquered all this, cleared the 
spreading mortification, that the red streak went off again, 
the flesh began to heal, and matter to run ; and in a few 
days the man's spirits began to recover, his pulse beat 
regular, he had no fever, and gathered strength daily, and, 
in a word, he was a perfect sound man in about ten weeks, 
and we kept him amongst us, and made him an able sea- 
man. But to return to the ship : we never could come at 
a certain information about it, till some of the negroes 
which we kept on board, and whom we taught to speak 
English, gave the account of it afterwards, and this maimed 
man in particular. 

We inquired by all the signs and motions we could 
imagine what was become of the people, and yet we could 
get nothing from them. Our lieutenant was for torturing 
some of them to make them confess ; but William opposed 
that vehemently ; and when he heard it was under con- 
sideration, he came to me ; Friend, says he, I make a 
request to thee not to put any of these poor wretches 
to torment. Why, William, said I, why not? You see 
they will not give any account of what is become of the 
white men. Nay, says William, do not say so ; I suppose 
they have given thee a full account of every particular of 


it. How so 1 says I : pray what are we the wiser for all 
their jabbering? Nay, says William, that may be thy 
fault, for aught I know : thou wilt not punish the poor 
men because they cannot speak English ; and perhaps they 
never heard a word of English before. Now, I may very 
well suppose, that they had given thee a large account of 
everything ; for thou seest with what earnestness, and how 
long, some of them have talked to thee ; and if thou canst 
not understand their language, nor they thine, how can they 
help that? At the best, thou doest but suppose that they 
have not told thee the whole truth of the story ; and, on 
the contrary, I suppose they have ; and how wilt thou 
decide the question, whether thou art right, or whether I 
am right? Besides, what can they say to thee, when thou 
askest them a question upon the torture, and at the same 
time they do not understand the question, and thou doest 
not know whether they say aye or no ? 

It is no compliment to my moderation to say I was con- 
vinced by these reasons ; and yet we had all much ado to 
keep our second lieutenant from murdering some of them, 
to make them tell. What if they had told ; he did not 
understand one word of it ; but he would not be persuaded 
but that the negroes must needs understand him, when he 
asked them, whether the ship had any boat or no, like ours, 
and what was become of it. 

But there was no remedy but to wait till we made these 
people understand English ; and to adjourn the story till 
that time. The case was thus ; where they were taken on 
board the ship, that we could never understand, because 
they never knew the English names which we give to those 
coasts, or what nation they were who belonged to the ship, 
because they knew not one tongue from another ; but thus 
far the negro I examined, who was the same whose leg 


William had cured, told us that they did not speak the 
same language we spoke, nor the same our Portuguese 
spoke ; so that in all probability they must be French or 

Then he told us that the white men used them barbar- 
ously ; that they beat them unmercifully ; that one of the 
negro men had a wife and two negro children, one a 
daughter about sixteen years old ; that a white man abused 
the negro man's wife, and afterwards his daughter, which, 
as he said, made all the negro men mad ; and that the 
woman's husband was in a great rage ; at which the white 
man was so provoked that he threatened to kill him ; but, 
in the night, the negro man being loose, got a great club, 
by which he made us understand he meant a handspike, 
and that when the same Frenchman (if it was a Frenchman) 
came among them again, he began again to abuse the negro 
man's wife ; at which the negro, taking up the handspike, 
knocked his brains out at one blow ; and then taking the 
key from him with which he usually unlocked the handcuffs 
which the negroes were fettered with, he set about a hundred 
of them at liberty, who, getting up upon the deck by the 
same skuttle that the white man came down, and taking 
the man's cutlass who was killed, and laying hold of what 
came next them, they fell upon the men that were upon the 
deck, and killed them all, and afterwards those they found 
upon the forecastle ; that the captain and his other men 
who were in the cabin and the round-house defended them- 
selves with great courage, and shot out at the loopholes at 
them, by which he and several other men were wounded, 
and some killed ; but that they broke into the round-house, 
after a long dispute, where they killed two of the white 
men, but owned that the two white men killed eleven of 
their men before they could break in ; and then the rest; 


having got down the skuttle into the great cabin, wounded 
three more of them. 

That, after this, the gunner of the ship having secured 
himself in the gun-room, one of his men hauled up the long 
boat close under the stern, and putting into her all the arms 
and ammunition they could come at, got all into the boat, 
and afterwards took in the captain and those that were with 
him out of the great cabin. When they were all thus 
embarked they resolved to lay the ship abroad again, and 
try to recover it. That they boarded the ship in a desperate 
manner, and killed at first all that stood in their way ; but 
the negroes being by this time all loose, and having gotten 
some arms, though they understood nothing of powder and 
bullet, or guns, yet the men could never master them. 
However, they lay under the ship's bow, and got out all the 
men they had left in the cook-room, who had main- 
tained themselves there, notwithstanding all the negroes 
could do, and with their small arms killed between thirty 
and forty of the negroes, but were at last forced to leave 

They could give me no account whereabouts this was 
whether near the coast of Africa or far off or how long it 
was before the ship fell into our hands ; only, in general, it 
was a great while ago, as they called it ; and, by all we 
could learn, it was within two or three days after they had 
set sail from the coast. They told us that they had killed 
about thirty of the white men, having knocked them on the 
head with crows and handspikes, and such things as they 
could get ; and one strong negro killed three of them with 
an iron crow, after he was shot twice through the body ; 
and that he was afterwards shot through the head by the 
captain himself, at the door of the round-house, which he 
had split open with the crow; and this we suppose was the 


occasion of the great quantity of blood which we saw at the 
round-house door. 

The same negro told us that they threw all the powder 
and shot they could find into the sea, and they would have 
thrown the great guns into the sea if they could have lifted 
them. Being asked how they came to have their sails in 
such a condition, his answer was, They no understand ; they 
no know what the sails do ; that was, they did not so much 
as know that it was the sails that made the ship go, or 
understand what they meant, or what to do with them. 
When we asked him whither they were going, he said they 
did not know, but believed they should go home to their 
own country agaia I asked him, in particular, what he 
thought we were when we came first up with them ; he said 
they were terribly frightened, believing we were the same 
white men that had gone away in their boats, and were 
come again in a great ship with the two boats with them, 
and expected they would kill them all. 

This was the account we got out of them, after we had 
taught them to speak English, and to understand the names 
and use of the things belonging to the ship, which they had 
occasion to speak of ; and we observed that the fellows were 
too innocent to dissemble in their relation, and that they all 
agreed in the particulars, and were always in the same story, 
which confirmed very much the truth of what they said. 


HAVING taken this ship, our next difficulty was, what to do 
with the negroes. The Portuguese in the Brazils would 
have bought them all of us, and been glad of the purchase, 
if we had not showed ourselves enemies there, and been 


known for pirates \ but, as it was, we durst not go ashore 
anywhere thereabouts, or treat with any of the planters, 
because we should raise the whole country upon us ; and, if 
there were any such things as men-of-war in any of their 
ports, we should be assured to be attacked by them, and by 
all the force they had by land or sea. 

Nor could we think of any better success, if we went 
northward to our own plantations. One while we deter- 
mined to carry them all away to Buenos Ayres, and sell 
them there to the Spaniards ; but they were really too many 
for them to make use of ; and to carry them round to the 
South Seas, which was the only remedy that was left, was 
so far that we should be no way able to subsist them for so 
long a voyage. 

At last, our never-failing friend, William, helped us out 
again, as he had often done at a dead-lift. His proposal 
was this, that he should go as master of the ship, and about 
twenty men, such as we could best trust, and attempt 
to trade privately, upon the coast of Brazil, with the 
planters, not at the principal ports, because that would not 
be admitted. 

We all agreed to this, and appointed to go away ourselves 
towards the Rio de la Plata, where we had thought of going 
before, and to wait for him, not there, but at Port St. 
Pedro, as the Spaniards call it, lying at the mouth of the 
river which they call Pvio Grande, and where the Spaniards 
had a small fort and a few people, but we believe there was 
nobody in it. 

Here we took up our station, cruising off and on, to see 
if we could meet any ships going to, or coming from, Buenos 
Ayres, or the Rio de la Plata ; but we met with nothing 
worth notice. However, we employed ourselves in things 
necessary for our going on' to sea ; for we filled all our 


water-casks, and got some fish for our present use, to spare 
as much as possible our ship's stores. 

William, in the meantime, went away to the north, and 
made the land about the Gape of St. Thomas ; and, betwixt 
that and the isles of Tuberon, he found means to trade with 
the planters for all his negroes, as well the women as the 
men, and at a very good price too ; for William, who spoke 
Portuguese pretty well, told them a fair story enough, that 
the ship was in scarcity of provisions, that they were driven 
a great way out of their way, and indeed, as we say, out 
of their knowledge, and that they must go up to the north- 
ward as far as Jamaica, or sell there upon the coast. 
This was a very plausible tale, and was easily believed ; 
and, if you observe the manner of the negroes' sailing, and 
what happened in their voyage, was every word of it true. 

By this method, and being true to one another, William 
past for what he was ; I mean for a very honest fellow, 
and, by the assistance of one planter, who sent to some of 
his neighbour planters, and managed the trade among them, 
selves, he got a quick market ; for in less than five weeks 
William sold all his negroes, and at last sold the ship itself, 
and shipped himself and his twenty men, with two negro 
boys whom he had left, in a sloop, one of those which the 
planters used to send on board for the negroes. With this 
sloop Captain William, as we then called him, came away, 
and found us at Port St. Pedro, in the latitude of 33 degrees 
30 minutes south. 

Nothing was more surprising to us than to see a sloop 
come along the coast, carrying Portuguese colours, and come 
in directly to us, after we were assured he had discovered 
both our ships. We fired a gun, upon her nearer approach 
to bring her to an anchor, but immediately she fired five 
guns by way of salute, and spread her English ancient; 


then we began to guess it was friend William, but wondered 
what was the meaning of his being in a sloop, whereas we 
sent him away in a ship of near three hundred tons ; but he 
soon let us into the whole history of his management, with 
which we had a great deal of reason to be very well satisfied. 
As soon as he had brought the sloop to an anchor, he came 
aboard of my ship, and there he gave us an account how 
he began to trade, by the help of a Portuguese planter, who 
lived near the seaside ; how he went on shore, and went up 
to the first house he could see, and asked the man of the 
house to sell him some hogs, pretending at first he only 
stood in upon the coast to take in fresh water, and buy some 
provisions ; and the man not only sold him seven fat hogs, 
but invited him in, and gave him, and five men he had met 
with, a very good dinner ; and he invited the planter on 
board his ship, and, in return for his kindness, gave him a 
negro girl for his wife. 

This so obliged the planter that the next morning he sent 
him on board, in a great luggage-boat, a cow and two sheep, 
with a chest of sweetmeats, and some sugar, and a great bag 
of tobacco, and invited Captain William on shore again : 
that, after this, they grew from one kindness to another; 
that they began to talk about trading for some negroes ; 
and William, pretending it was to do him service, consented 
to sell him thirty negroes for his private use in his planta- 
tion, for which he gave William ready money in gold, at 
the rate of five and thirty moidores per head ; but the 
planter was obliged to use great caution in the bringing 
them on shore : for which purpose he made William weigh 
and stand out to sea, and put in again, about fifty miles 
farther north, where, at a little creek, he took the negroes 
on shore at another plantation, belonging to a friend of 
his, whom, it seems, he could trust. 

3 2 7 


This remove brought William into a farther intimacy, not 
only with the first planter, but also with his friends, who 
desired to have some of the negroes also ; so that, from one 
to another, they bought so many, till one overgrown planter 
took a hundred negroes, which was all William had left, 
and sharing them with another planter, that other planter 
chaffered with William for ship and all, giving him in ex- 
change a very clean, large, well-built sloop of nearly sixty 
tons, very well furnished, carrying six guns ; but we made 
her afterwards carry twelve guns. William had three 
hundred moidores in gold, besides the sloop, in payment for 
the ship ; and with this money he stored the sloop as full 
as she could hold with provisions, especially bread, some 
pork, and about sixty hogs alive; among the rest, William 
got eighty barrels of good gunpowder, which was very much 
for our purpose ; and all the provisions which were in the 
French ship he took out also. 

This was a very agreeable account to us, especially when 
we saw that William had received in gold coined, or by 
weight, and some Spanish silver, sixty thousand pieces of 
eight, besides a new sloop, and a vast quantity of 

We were very glad of the sloop in particular, and began 
to consult what we should do, whether we had not best 
turn off our great Portuguese ship, and stick to our first 
ship and the sloop, seeing we had scarce men enough for all 
three, and that the biggest ship was thought too big for our 
business ; however, another dispute, which was now decided, 
brought the first to a conclusion. The first dispute was, 
whither we should go ? My comrade, as I called him now, 
that is to say, he that was my captain before we took this 
Portuguese man-of-war, was for going to the South Seas, 
and coasting up the west side of America, where we could 


not fail of making several good prizes upon the Spaniards ; 
and that then, if occasion required, we might come home 
by the South Seas to the East Indies, and so go round the 
globe, as others had done before us. 

But my head lay another way ; I had been in the East 
Indies, and had entertained a notion, ever since that, that 
if we went thither we could not fail of making good work of 
it, and that we might have a safe retreat, and good beef to 
victual our ship, among my old friends the natives of 
Zanguebar, on the coast of Mozambique, or the island of St. 
Laurence : I say my thoughts lay this way ; and I read so 
many lectures to them all, of the advantages they would 
certainly make of their strength, by the prizes they would 
take in the gulf of Mocha, or the Red Sea, and on the 
coast of Malabar, or the bay of Bengal, that I amazed 

With these arguments I prevailed on them, and we all 
resolved to steer away S.E. for the Cape of Good Hope ; 
and, in consequence of this resolution, we concluded to keep 
the sloop, and sail with all three, not doubting, as I assured 
them, but we should find men there to make up the number 
wanting, and, if not, we might cast any of them off when , 
we pleased. 

We could not do less than make our friend William 
captain of the sloop, which, with such good management, 
he had brought us. He told us, though with much good 
manners, he would not command her as a frigate, but, if we 
would give her to him for his share of the Guinea ship, 
which we came very honestly by, he would keep us com- 
pany as a victualler, if we commanded him, as long as he 
was under the same force that took him way. 

We understood him, so we gave him the sloop, but upon 
condition that he should not go from us, and should be 


entirely under command : however, William was not so 
easy as before ; and indeed, as we afterwards wanted the 
sloop to cruise for purchase, and a right thorough-paced 
pirate in her, so I was in such pain for William that I 
could not be without him, for he was my privy-councillor 
and companion upon all occasions ; so I put a Scotsman, a 
bold, enterprising, gallant fellow, into her, named Gordon, 
and made her carry twelve guns, and four petereroes,* 
though, indeed, we wanted men, for we were none of us 
manned in proportion to our force. 

We sailed away for the Cape of Good Hope, the be- 
ginning of October 1706, and passed by in sight of the 
Cape the 12th of November following, having met with a 
great deal of bad weather : we saw several merchant-ships 
in the road there, as well English as Dutch, whether out- 
ward bound or homeward, we could not tell ; be it what it 
would, we did not think fit to come to an anchor, not 
knowing what they might be, or what they might attempt 
against us, when they knew what we were : however, as 
we wanted fresh water, we sent the two boats belonging to 
the Portuguese man-of-war, with all Portuguese seamen or 
negroes in them, to the watering-place, to take in water ; 
and in the meantime, we hung out a Portuguese ancient at 
sea, and lay by all that night. They knew not what we 
were ; but it seems we past for anything but what we really 

Our boats returning the third time loaden, about five 
o'clock next morning, we thought ourselves sufficiently 
watered, and stood away to the eastward ; but, before our 
men returned the last time, the wind blowing an easy gale 
at west, we perceived a boat in the grey of the morning 
under sail, crowding to come up with us, as if they were 
* Carronades, or small mortars. 


afraid we should be gone. We soon found it was an 
English longboat, and that it was pretty full of men. We 
could not imagine what the meaning of it should be ; but, 
as it was but a boat, we thought no great harm in it to let 
them come on board ; and if it appeared they came only to 
inquire who we were, we would give them a full account of 
our business, by taking them along with us, seeing we 
wanted men as much as anything ; but they saved us the 
labour of being in doubt how to dispose of them, for it 
seems our Portuguese seamen, who went for water, had not 
been so silent at the watering-place as we thought they 
would have been. But the case, in short, was this : 

Captain (I forbear his name at present, for a 

particular reason), captain of the East India merchant-ship, 
bound afterwards for China, had found some reason to be 
very severe with his men, and had handled some of them 
very roughly at St. Helena \ insomuch that they threatened 
among themselves to leave the ship the first opportunity, 
and had long wished for that opportunity. Some of these 
men, it seems, had met with our boat at the watering-place, 
and inquiring of one another who we were, and upon 
what account ; whether the Portuguese seamen, by faltering 
in their account, made them suspect that we were out upon 
a cruise, or whether they told it in plain English or no (for 
they all spoke English enough to be understood), but so it 
was, that, as soon as ever they carried the news on board 
that the ships which lay by to the eastward were English, 
and that they were going upon the account, which, by-the- 
way, was a term for a pirate ;* I say, as soon as ever they 
heard it, they went to work, and getting all things ready in 
the night, their chests and clothes, and whatever else they 

* From the men agreeing not for wages, but for shares in the 
proceeds according to their rank and services. 


could, they came away before it was day, and came up 
with us about seven o'clock. 

"When they came by the ship's side which I commanded, 
we hailed them in the usual manner, to know what and who 
they were, and what their business : they answered, they 
were Englishmen, and desired to come aboard. We told 
them they might lay the ship on board, but ordered they 
should let only one man enter the ship till the captain knew 
their business, and that he should come without any arms : 
they said, Ay, ay, with all their hearts. 

We presently found their business, and that they desired 
to go with us; and as for their arms, they desired we 
would send men on board the boat, and that they would 
deliver them all to us, which was done. The fellow that 
came up to me told me how they had been used by the 
captain, how he had starved the men, and used them like 
dogs ; and that, if the rest of the men knew they should be 
admitted, he was satisfied two-thirds of them would leave 
the ship. We found the fellows were hearty in their 
resolu/ *\ and jolly brisk sailors they were : so I told them 
I would do nothing without our admiral, that was the 
captain of the other ship : so I sent my pinnace on board 
Captain Wilmot, to desire him to come on board ; but he 
was indisposed, and being to leeward, excused his coming, 
but left it all to me : but before my boat was returned, 
Captain Wilmot called to me by his speaking trumpet, 
which all the men might hear as well as I ; thus, calling 
me by my name, I hear they are honest fellows ; pray tell 
them they are all welcome, and make them a bowl of 

As the men heard it as well as I, there was no need to 
tell them what the captain said ; and, as soon as the 
trumpet had done, they set up a huzza, that showed us they 


were very hearty in their coming to us ; but we bound them 
to us- by a stronger obligation still after this : for, when we 
came to Madagascar, Captain Wilmot, with consent of the 
ship's company, ordered that these men should have as 
much money given them out of the stock as was due to 
them for their pay in the ship they had left ; and after 
that, we allowed them twenty pieces of eight a man bounty 
money ; and thus we entered them upon shares, as we were 
all, and brave stout fellows they were, being eighteen in 
number, whereof two were midshipmen, and one a 

It was the 28th of November, when, having had some 
bad weather, we came to an anchor in the road off St. 
Augustine bay, at the south-west end of my old acquaint- 
ance, the isle of Madagascar ; we lay here awhile, and 
trafficked with the natives for some good beef ; though the 
weather was so hot, that we could not promise ourselves to 
salt any of it up to keep ; but I showed them the way which 
we practised before to salt it first with saltpetre, then cure 
it, by drying it in the sun, which made it eat very agree- 
ably, though not so wholesome for our men, that not 
agreeing with our way of cooking viz., boiling with pud- 
ding, brewess, etc. ; and particularly this way would be too 
salt, and the fat of the meat be rusty, or dried away, so as 
not to be eaten. 

This, however, we could not help, and made ourselves 
amends by feeding heartily on the fresh beef while we were 
there, which was excellent, good, and fat, every way as 
tender and as well relished as in England, and thought 
to be much better to us who had not tasted any in England 
for so long a time. 

Having now for some time remained here, we began 
to consider that this was not a place for our business ; and 


I, that had some views a particular way of my own, told 
them, that this was not a station for those who looked for 
purchase ; that there were two parts of the island which 
were particularly proper for our purposes ; first, the bay on 
the east side of the island, and from thence to the island 
Mauritius, which was the usual way which ships that came 
from the Malabar coast, or the coast of Ooromandel, Fort 
St. George,* etc., used to take, and where, if we waited for 
them, we ought to take our station. 

But, on the other hand, as we did not resolve to fall 
upon the European traders, who were generally ships of forcOj 
and well manned, and where blows must be looked for ; so I 
had another prospect, which I promised myself would yield 
equal profit, or perhaps greater, without any of the hazard 
and difficulty of the former ; and this was the gulf of Mocha, 
or the Red Sea. 

I told them that the trade here was great, the ships rich, 
and the strait of Babelmandel narrow ; so that there was no 
doubt but we might cruise so as to let nothing slip our 
hands, having the seas open from the Red Sea, along the 
coast of Arabia to the Persian Gulf, and the Malabar side 
of the Indies. 

I told them what I had observed when I sailed round the 
island, in my former progress, how that, on the northern- 
most point of the island, there were several very good 
harbours and roads for our ships ; that the natives were 
even more civil and tractable, if possible, than those where 
we were, not having been so often ill-treated by European 
sailors as those had in the south and east sides ; and that 
we might always be sure of a retreat, if we were driven 
to put in by any necessity, either of enemies or of weather. 

They were easily convinced of the reasonableness of my 
* Madras. 


scheme ; and Captain Wilmot, whom I now called our Ad- 
miral, though he was at first of the mind to go and lie at 
the island Mauritius, and wait for some of the European 
merchant-ships from the road of Coromandel, or the bay of 
Bengal, was now of my mind. It is true, we were strong 
enough to have attacked an English East India ship of the 
greatest force, though some of them were said to carry fifty 
guns ; but I represented to him that we were sure to have 
blows and blood if we took them ; and, after we had done, 
their loading was not of equal value to us, because we had 
no room to dispose of their merchandise ; and, as our cir- 
cumstances stood, we had rather have taken one outward- 
bound East India ship, with her ready cash on board, 
perhaps to the value of forty or fifty thousand pounds, than 
three homeward-bound, though their loading would at Lon- 
don be worth three times the money ; because we knew not 
whither to go to dispose of the cargo ; whereas the ships 
from London had abundance of things we knew how to 
make use of, besides their money; such as their stores of 
provisions and liquors, and great quantities of the like sent 
to the governors and factories at the English settlements, 
for their use ; so that, if we resolved to look for our own 
country ships, it should be those that were outward-bound, 
not the London ships homeward. 

All these things considered, brought the admiral to be of 
my mind entirely ; so, after taking in water and some fresh 
provisions where we lay, which was near Cape St. Mary, on 
the south-west corner of the island, we weighed, and stood 
away south, and afterwards S.S.E. to round the island, and 
in about six days' sail got out of the wake of the island, and 
steered away north till we came off Port Dauphin,* and 
then north by east, to the latitude of 13 degrees 40 minutes, 
* Now Port Louis, north of Tamatave. 


which was, in short, just at the farthest part of the island ; 
and the admiral keeping ahead, made the open sea fair to 
the west, clear of the whole island ; upon which he brought 
to, and we sent a sloop to stand in round the farthest point 
north, and coast along the shore, and see for a harbour to 
put into, which they did, and soon brought us an account, 
that there was a deep bay, with a very good road, and 
several little islands, under which they found good riding, 
in ten to seventeen fathom water, and accordingly there we 
put in. 

However, we afterwards found occasion to remove our 
station, as you shall hear presently. We had now nothing 
to do but go on shore, and acquaint ourselves a little with 
the natives, take in fresh provisions, and then to sea again. 
We found the people very easy to deal with ; and some 
cattle they had; but it being at the extremity of the island, 
they had not such quantities of cattle here. However, for 
the present, we resolved to appoint this for our place of 
rendezvous, and go and look out This was about the latter 
end of April. 

Accordingly we put to sea, and cruised away to the north- 
ward, for the Arabian coast : it was a long run ; but as the 
winds generally blow trade from the south and S.S.E. from 
May to September, we had good weather; and in about 
twenty days we made the island of Saccatia, lying south 
from the Arabian coast, and E.S.E. from the mouth of the 
gulf of Mocha, or the Red Sea. 

Here we took in water, and stood off and on upon the 
Arabian shore. We had not cruised here above three days, 
or thereabouts, before I spied a sail, and gave her chase ; 
but when we came up with her, never was such a poor 
prize chased by pirates that looked for booty ; for we found 
nothing in her but poor, half-naked Turks, going a pilgrimage 


to Mecca to the tomb of their prophet Mahomet. The 
junk that carried them had no one thing worth taking 
away, but a little rice, and some coffee, which was all the 
poor wretches had for their subsistence ; so we let them go, 
for indeed we knew not what to do with them. 

The same evening we chased another junk with two 
masts, and in something better plight to look at than the 
former. When we came on board we found them upon the 
same errand, but only that they were people of some better 
fashion than the other j and here we got some plunder, 
some Turkish stores, a few diamonds, in the ear-drops of 
five or six persons, some fine Persian carpets, of which they 
made their saffras to lie upon, and some money ; so we let 
them go also. 

We continued here eleven days longer, and saw nothing 
but now and then a fishing-boat; but the twelfth day of our 
cruise we spied a ship; indeed I thought at first it had been 
an English ship ; but it appeared to be an European, 
freighted for a voyage from Goa, on the coast of Malabar, 
to the Red Sea, and was very rich. We chased her, and 
took her without any fight, though they had some guns on 
board too, but not many. We found her manned with 
Portuguese seamen, but under the direction of five merchant 
Turks, who had hired her on the coast of Malabar of some 
Portugal merchants, and had loaden her with pepper, salt- 
petre, some spices, and the rest of the loading was chiefly 
calicoes and wrought silks, some of them very rich. 

We took her and carried her to Saccatia ; but we really 
knew not what to do with her, for the same reasons as 
before ; for all their goods were of little or no value to us. 
After some days we found means to let one of the Turkish 
merchants know, that if he would ransom the ship, we would 
take a sum of money and let them go. He told me, If I 


would let one of them go on shore for the money, they 
would do it : so we adjusted the value of the cargo at 
30,000 ducats. Upon this agreement we allowed the sloop 
to carry him on shore at Dhofar in Arabia, where a rich 
merchant laid down the money for them, and came off with 
our sloop ; and on payment of the money, we very fairly 
and honestly let them go. 

Some days after this we took an Arabian junk, going 
from the gulf of Persia to Mocha, with a good quantity of 
pearl on board. We gutted him of the pearl, which, it 
seems, was belonging to some merchants at Mocha, and let 
him go ; for there was nothing else worth our taking. 

We continued cruising up and down here, till we began 
to find our provisions grow low, when Oaptain Wilmot, our 
admiral, told us it was time to think of going back to the 
rendezvous ; and the rest of the men said the same, being a 
little weary of beating about for above three months 
together, and meeting with little or nothing, compared to 
our great expectations ; but I was very loath to part with 
the Red Sea at so cheap a rate, and pressed them to tarry a 
little longer, which at my instance we did ; but three days 
afterwards, to our great misfortune, we understood, that, 
by landing the Turkish merchants at Dhofar, we had 
alarmed the coast as far as the gulf of Persia, so that no 
vessel would stir that way, and consequently nothing was 
to be expected on that side. 

I was greatly mortified at this news, and could no longer 
withstand the importunities of the men, to return to Mada- 
gascar. However, as the winds continued still to blow at 
S.S.E. to E. by S., we were obliged to stand away towards 
the coast of Africa, and the Cape Guardefoy, the winds 
being more variable under the shore than in the open 


Here we chopped upon a booty which we did not look for, 
and which made amends for all our waiting ; for, the very 
same hour that we made land, we spied a large vessel sail- 
ing along the shore to the southward. The ship was of 
Bengal, belonging to the Great Mogul's country, but had 
on board a Dutch pilot, whose name, if I remember right, 
was Yandergest, and several European seamen, whereof 
three were English. She was in no condition to resist us. 
The rest of her seamen were Indians of the Mogul's 
subjects, some Malabars, and some others. There were 
five Indian merchants on board, and some Armenians. It 
seems they had been at Mocha with spices, silks, diamonds, 
pearls, calico, etc., such goods as the country afforded, 
and had little on board now but money, in pieces of eight, 
which, by the way, was just what we wanted ; and the 
three English seamen came along with us ; and the Dutch 
pilot would have done so too, but the two Armenian 
merchants entreated us not to take him ; for that, he being 
their pilot, there was none of the men knew how to guide 
the ship : so, at their request, we refused him ; but we 
made them promise he should not be used ill for being 
willing to go with us. 

We got near two hundred thousand pieces of eight in this 
vessel ; and, if they said true, there was a Jew of Goa, who 
intended to have embarked with them, who had two hun- 
dred thousand pieces of eight with him, all his own ; but 
his good fortune hindered him : for he fell sick at Mocha, 
and could not be ready to travel, which was the saving of 
his money. 



THERE was none with me at the taking this prize but the 
sloop ; for Captain Wilmot's ship proving leaky, he went 
away for the rendezvous before us, and arrived there the 
middle of December; but not liking the port, he left a 
great cross on shore, with directions written on a plate of 
lead fixed to it, for us to come after him to the great bay at 
Mangahelly, where we found a very good harbour ; but we 
learned a piece of news here that kept us from him a great 
while, which the admiral took offence at ; but we stopped 
his mouth with his share of two hundred thousand pieces of 
eight to him and his ship's crew. But the story which 
interrupted our coming to him was this. Between 
Mangahelly and another point, called Cape St. Sebastian, 
there came on shore, in the night, an European ship ; and 
whether stress of weather, or want of a pilot, I know not, 
but the ship stranded, and could not be got off. 

We lay in the cove, or harbour, where, as I have said, 
our rendezvous was appointed, and had not yet been on 
shore ; so we had not seen the directions our admiral had 
left for us. 

Our friend William, of whom I have said nothing a great 
while, had a great mind one day to go on shore, and 
importuned me to let him have a little troop to go with him, 
for safety, that they might see the country. I was mightily 
against it for many reasons ; but particularly I told him, he 
knew the natives were but savages, and they were very 
treacherous, and I desired him that he would not go ; and, 
had he gone on much farther, I believe I should have 
downright refused him, and commanded him not to go. 

But, in order to persuade me to let him go, he told mej 


he would give me an account of the reason why he was so 
importunate. He told me the last night he had a dream, 
which was so forcible, and made such an impression upon 
his mind, that he could not be quiet till he had made the 
proposal to me to go; and, if I refused him, then he 
thought his dream was significant ; and if not, then his 
dream was at an end. 

His dream was, he said, that he went on shore with 
thirty men, of which the cockswain, he said, was one, upon 
the island ; and that they found a mine of gold, and 
enriched them all. But this was not the main thing, he 
said ; but that the same morning he had dreamed so the 
cockswain came to him just then, and told him that he 
dreamed he went on shore on the island of Madagascar, 
and that some men came to him, and told him they would 
show him where he could get a prize which would make 
them all rich. 

These two things put together began to weigh with me a 
little, though I was never inclined to give any heed to 
dreams ; but William's importunity turned me effectually ; 
for I always put a great deal of stress upon his judgment ; 
so that, in short, I gave them leave to go ; but I charged 
them not to go far off from the sea-coast ; that, if they were 
forced down to the seaside upon any occasion, we might 
perhaps see them, and fetch them off with our boats. 

They went away early in the morning, one-and-thirty men 
of them in number, very well armed, and very stout fellows : 
they travelled all the day, and at night made us a signal 
that all was well, from the top of a hill, which we had 
agreed on, by making a great fire. 

Next day they marched down the hill, on the other side, 
inclining towards the seaside, as they had promised, and 
saw a very pleasant valley before them, with a river in the 


middle of it, which, a little farther below them, seemed 
to be big enough to bear small ships ; they marched apace 
towards this river, and were surprised with the noise of 
a piece going off ; which, by the sound, could not be far 
off : they listened long, but could hear no more, so they 
went on to the river-side, which was a very fine fresh stream, 
but widened apace ; and they kept on by the banks of it, 
till, almost at once, it opened or widened into a good large 
creek, or harbour, about five miles from the sea ; and that 
which was still more surprising, as they marched forward, 
they plainly saw, in the mouth of the harbour, or creek, the 
wreck of a ship. 

The tide was up, as we call it, so that it did not appear 
very much above the water ; but, as they made downwards, 
they found it grow bigger and bigger ; and the tide soon 
after ebbing out, they found it lay dry upon the sands, and 
appeared to be the wreck of a considerable vessel, larger than 
could be expected in that country. 

After some time, William, taking out his glass to look at 
it more nearly, was surprised with hearing a musket-shot 
whistle by him ; and, immediately after that he heard the 
gun, and saw the smoke from the other side ; upon which 
our men immediately fired three muskets, to discover, if 
possible, what or who they were. Upon the noise of these 
guns, abundance of men came running down to the shore, 
from among the trees ; and our men could easily perceive 
that they were Europeans, though they knew not of what 
nation ; however, our men hallooed to them as loud as they 
could ; and by and by they got a long pole, and set it up, 
and hung a white shirt upon it for a flag of truce. They, 
on the other side, saw it, by the help of their glasses, too ; 
and quickly after our men saw a boat launch off from 
shore, as they thought; but it was from another creek, 


it seems; and immediately they came rowing over the 
creek to our men, carrying also a white flag as a token of 

It is not easy to describe the surprise, or joy and satis- 
faction, that appeared on both sides, to see not only white 
men, but Englishmen, in a place so remote ; but what then 
must it be, when they came to know one another, to find 
that they were not only countrymen, but comrades; and 
that this was the very ship that Captain Wilmot, our 
admiral, commanded, and whose company we had lost in 
the storm at Tobago, after making an agreement to 
rendezvous at Madagascar ! 

They had, it seems, got intelligence of us, when they 
came to the south part of the island, and had been a-roving 
as far as the gulf of Bengal, when they met Captain Avery, 
with whom they joined, took several rich prizes, and, 
amongst the rest, one ship with the Great Mogul's daughter, 
and an immense treasure in money and jewels ; and from 
thence they came about the coast of Coromandel, and after- 
wards that of Malabar, into the gulf of Persia, where they 
also took some prize, and then designed for the south part 
of Madagascar; but the winds blowing hard at S.E. and 
S.E. by E., they came to the northward of the isle, and, 
being, after that, separated by a furious tempest from the 
N.W., they were forced into the mouth of that creek, where 
they lost their ship. And they told us also, that they 
heard that Captain Avery himself had lost his ship also, not 
far off. 

When they had thus acquainted one another with their 
fortunes, the poor overjoyed men were in haste to go back 
to communicate their joy to their comrades ; and leaving 
some of their men with ours, the rest went back; and 
William was so earnest to see them, that he and two more 



went back with them ; and there he came to their little 
camp, where they lived. There were about a hundred and 
sixty men of them in all : they had got their guns on shore, 
and some ammunition ; but a good deal of their powder 
was spoiled ; however, they had raised a fair platform, and 
mounted twelve pieces of cannon upon it, which was a 
sufficient defence to them on that side of the sea ; and just 
at the end of the platform they had made a launch, and a 
little yard, and were all hard at work, building another 
little ship, as I may call it, to go to sea in ; but they put a 
stop to this work upon the news they had of our being 
come in. 

When our men went into their huts, it was surprising 
indeed to see the vast stock of wealth they had got, in 
gold, and silver, and jewels, which, however, they told us 
was a trifle to what Captain Avery had, wherever he was 

It was five days we had waited for our men, and no news 
of them ; and indeed I gave them over for lost ; but was 
surprised, after five days' waiting, to see a ship's boat come 
rowing towards us along shore. What to make of it I could 
not tell, but was at last better satisfied when our men told 
me they heard them halloo, and saw them wave their caps 
to us. 

In a little time they came quite up to us ; and I 
saw friend William stand in the boat, and make signs to 
us : so they came on board ; but when I saw there were 
but fifteen of our one-and-thirty men, I asked what was 
become of their fellows : O, says William, they are all very 
well; and my dream is fully made good, and the cockswain's 

This made me very impatient to know how the case 
stood : so he told us the whole story, which, indeed 


surprised us all. The next day we weighed, and stood 
away southerly to join Captain Wilmot and his ship, at 
Mangahelly, where we found him, as I said, a little 
chagrined at our stay ; but we pacified him afterwards with 
telling him the history of William's dream, and the 
consequence of it 

In the meantime the camp of our comrades was so 
near Mangahelly, that our admiral, and I, friend William, 
and some of the men, resolved to take the sloop, and go 
and see them, and fetch them all, and their goods, bag and 
baggage, on board our ship, which accordingly we did, and 
found their camp, their fortifications, the battery of guns 
they had erected, their treasure, and all the men, just as 
William had related it; so, after some stay, we took all 
the men into the sloop, and brought them away with us. 

It was some time before we knew what was become of 
Captain Avery ; but after about a month, by the direction 
of the men who had lost their ship, we sent the sloop to 
cruise along the shore, to find out, if possible, where they 
were ; and in about a week's cruise our men found them ; 
and particularly, that they had lost their ship, as well as our 
men had lost theirs, and that they were every way in as bad 
a condition as ours. 

It was about ten days before the sloop returned, and 
Captain Avery with them ; and this was the whole force 
that, as I remember, Captain Avery ever had with him ; 
for now we joined all our companies together, and it stood 
thus : we had two ships and a sloop, in which we had three 
hundred and twenty men, but much too few to man them 
as they ought to be ; the great Portuguese ship requiring of 
herself near four hundred men to man her completely. As 
for our lost, but now found, comrade, her complement of 
men was one hundred and eighty, or thereabouts ; and 


Captain Avery had about three hundred men with him, 
whereof he had ten carpenters with him, most of which 
were found aboard the prize they had taken ; so that, in a 
word, all the force Avery had at Madagascar, in the year 
1699, or thereabouts, amounted to our three ships, for his 
own was lost, as you have heard, and never had any more 
than about twelve hundred men in all. 

It was about a month after this that all our crews got 
together; and, as Avery was unshipped, we all agreed to 
bring our own company into the Portuguese man-of-war 
and the sloop, and give Captain Avery the Spanish frigate, 
with all the tackles and furniture, guns and ammunition, 
for his crew by themselves; for which they, being full of 
wealth, agreed to give us forty thousand pieces of eight. 

It was next considered what course we should take. 
Captain Avery, to give him his due, proposed our building 
a little city here, establishing ourselves on shore, wi.h a 
good fortification, and works proper to defend ourselves : 
and that, as we had wealth enough, and could increase it to 
what degree we pleased, we should content ourselves to 
retire here, and bid defiance to the world. But I soon con- 
vinced him that this place would be no security to us, if we 
pretended to carry on our cruising trade ; for that then all 
the nations of Europe, and indeed of that part of the world, 
would be engaged to root us out ; but if we resolved to live 
there as in a retirement, and plant in the country, as private 
men, and give over our trade of pirating, then indeed we 
might plant, and settle ourselves where we pleased ; but 
then I told him, the best way would be to treat with the 
natives, and buy a tract of land of them, farther up the 
country, seated upon some navigable river, where boats 
might go up and down for pleasure, but not ships to 
endanger us : that thus planting the high ground with 


cattle, such as cows and goats, of which the country also 
was full, to be sure we might live here as well as any men 
in the world ; and I owned to him, I thought it was a good 
retreat for those that were willing to leave off, and lay down, 
and yet did not care to venture home and be hanged ; that 
is to say, to run the risk of it. 

Captain Avery, however, made no positive discovery of 
his intentions : he seemed to me to decline my notion of 
going up into the country to plant : on the contrary, it was 
apparent he was of Captain Wilmot's opinion, that they 
might maintain themselves on shore, and yet carry on their 
cruising trade too ; and upon this they resolved ; but, as I 
afterwards understood, about fifty of their men went up the 
country, and settled themselves in an inland place, as a 
colony. Whether they are there still, or not, I cannot tell, 
or how many of them are left alive ; but it is my opinion 
they are there still, and that they are considerably increased ; 
for, as I hear, they have got some women among them, 
though not many ; for it seems five Dutch women, and 
three or four little girls, were taken by them in a Dutch 
ship, which they afterwards took going to Mocha ; and 
three of those women, marrying some of these men, went 
with them to live in their new plantation : but of this I 
speak only by hearsay. 

As we lay here some time, I found our people mightily 
divided in their notions ; some were for going this way, and 
some that, till at last I began to foresee they would part 
company, and perhaps we should not have men enough to 
keep together to man the great ship ; so I took Captain 
Wilmot aside, and began to talk to him about it, but soon 
perceived that he inclined himself to stay at Madagascar, 
and, having got a vast wealth for his own share, had secret 
designs of getting home some way or other. 


I argued the impossibility of it, and the hazard he would 
run, either of falling into the hands of thieves and murderers 
in the Red Sea, who would never let such a treasure as his 
was pass their hands, or of his falling into the hands of the 
English, Dutch, or French, who would certainly hang him 
for a pirate. I gave him an account of the voyage I had 
made from this very place to the continent of Africa, and 
what a journey it was to travel on foot 

In short, nothing could persuade him, but he would go 
into the Red Sea with the sloop, and where the children of 
Israel passed through the sea dryshod, and landing there, 
would travel to Grand Cairo by land, which is not above 
eighty miles ; and from thence he said he could ship 
himself, by the way of Alexandria, to any part of the 

I represented the hazard, and indeed the impossibility, of 
his passing by Mocha and Judda without being attacked, if 
he offered it by force, or plundered, if he went to get leave ; 
and explained the reasons of it so much, and so effectually, 
that, though at last he would not hearken to it himself, none 
of his men would go with him. They told him they would 
go anywhere with him to serve him, but that this was run- 
ning himself and them into certain destruction, without any 
possibility of avoiding it, or probability of answering his 
end. The captain took what I said to him quite wrong, 
and pretended to resent it, and gave me some buccaneer 
words upon it : but I gave him no return to it but this ; 
that I advised him for his advantage ; that, if he did 
not understand it so, it was his fault, not mine ; that I 
did not forbid to go, nor had I offered to persuade any of 
the men not to go with him, though it was to their apparent 

However, warm heads are not easily cooled : the captain 


was so eager that he quitted our company, and, with most 
of his crew, went over to Captain Avery, and sorted with 
his people, taking all the treasure with him, which, by the 
way, was not very fair in him, we having agreed to share 
all our gains, whether more or less, whether absent or 

Our men muttered a little at it ; but I pacified them as 
well as I could, and told them it was easy for us to get as 
much, if we minded our hits : and Captain Wilmot had set 
us a very good example ; for, by the same rule, the agree- 
ment of any farther sharing of profits with them was at an 
end. I took this occasion to put into their heads some 
part of my farther designs, which were, to range over the 
eastern sea, and see if we could not make ourselves as rich 
as Mr. Avery, who, it was true, had gotten a prodigious deal 
of money, though not one half of what was said of it in 

Our men were so pleased with my forward, enterprising 
temper, that they assured me that they would go with me, 
one and all, over the whole globe, wherever I would carry 
them ; and as for Captain Wilmot, they would have nothing 
more to do with him. This came to his ears, and put him 
into a great rage ; so that he threatened, if I came on shore, 
he would cut my throat. 

I had information of it privately, but took no notice of it 
at all ; only I took care not to go unprovided for him, and 
seldom walked about but in very good company. However, 
at last Captain Wilmot and I met, and talked over the 
matter very seriously ; and I offered him the sloop to go 
where he pleased ; or, if he was not satisfied with that, I 
offered to take the sloop, and leave him the great ship ; but 
he declined both, and only desired that I would leave him 
six carpenters, which I had in our ship more than I had 


need of, to help his men to finish the sloop that was begun 
before we came thither, by the men that lost their ship. 
This I consented readily to, and lent him several other 
hands that were useful to them ; and in a little time they 
built a stout brigantine, able to carry fourteen guns, and two 
hundred men. 

What measures they took, and how Captain Avery 
managed afterwards, is too long a story to meddle with 
here ; nor is it any of my business, having my own story 
still upon my hands. 

We lay here, about these several simple disputes, almost 
five months, when, about the latter end of March, I set sail 
with the great ship, having in her forty-four guns and four 
hundred men, and the sloop, carrying eighty men. We did 
not steer to the Malabar coast, and so to the gulf of Persia, 
as was at first intended, the east monsoons blowing yet too 
strong ; but we kept more under the African coast, where 
we had the wind variable till we passed the line, and made 
the Cape Bassa, in the latitude of 4 degrees 10 minutes : 
from thence, the monsoons beginning to change to the 
N.E. and N.N.E., we led it away, with the wind large, to the 
Maldives, a famous lodge of islands, well known by all the 
sailors who have gone into those parts of the world ; and, 
leaving these islands a little to the south, we made Cape 
Comorin, the southernmost land of the coast of Malabar, 
and went round the isle of Ceylon. Here we lay by awhile, 
to wait for purchase : and here we saw three large English 
East India ships going from Bengal, or from Fort St. 
George, homeward for England, or rather for Bombay and 
Surat, till the trade set in. 

We brought to, and, hoisting an English ancient and 
pendant, lay by for them, as if we intended to attack them. 
They could not tell what to make of us a good while, though 


they saw our colours ; and, I believe, at first they thought 
us to be French ; but as they came nearer to us, we let 
them soon see what we were, for we hoisted a black flag, 
with two cross daggers in it, on our main topmast head, 
which let them see what they were to expect. 

We soon found the effects of this ; for at first they spread 
their ancients, and made up to us in a line, as if they would 
fight us, having the wind off shore, fair enough to have 
brought them on board us ; but when they saw what force 
we were of, and found we were cruisers of another kind, 
they stood away from us again, with all the sail they could 
make. If they had come up, we should have given them 
an unexpected welcome ; but as it was, we had no mind to 
follow them ; so we let them go, for the same reasons 
which I mentioned before. 

But though we let them pass, we did not design to let 
others go at so easy a price. It was but the next morning 
that we saw a sail standing round Cape Comorin, and 
steering, as we thought, the same course with us. We knew 
not at first what to do with her, because she had the shore 
on her larboard quarter ; and if we offered to chase her, she 
might put into any port or creek, and escape us ; but, to 
prevent this, we sent the sloop, to get in between her and 
the land. As soon as she saw that, she haled in to keep 
the land aboard; and when the sloop stood towards her 
she made right ashore, with all the canvas she could 

The sloop, however, came up with her, and engaged her, 
and found she was a vessel of ten guns, Portuguese built, 
but in the Dutch traders' hands, and manned by Dutchmen, 
who were bound from the gulf of Persia to Batavia, to fetch 
spices and other goods from thence. The sloop's men took 
her, and had the rummaging of her, before we came up. 


She had in her some European goods, and a good round 
sum of money, and some pearl ; so that, though we did not 
go to the gulf for the pearl, the pearl came to us out of the 
gulf, and we had our share of it. This was a rich ship, and 
the goods were of very considerable value, besides the 
money and the pearl. 

We had a long consultation here, what we should do with 
the men ; for, to give them the ship, and let them pursue 
their voyage to Java, would be to alarm the Dutch factory 
there, who are by far the strongest in the Indies, and to 
make our passage that way impracticable; whereas we 
resolved to visit that part of the world in our way, but were 
not willing to pass the great Bay of Bengal, where we hoped 
for a great deal of purchase ; and therefore it behoved us 
not to be waylaid before we came there, because they knew 
we must pass by the Straits of Malacca, or those of Sunda ; 
and either way it was very easy to prevent us. 

While we were consulting this in the great cabin, the men 
had had the same debate before the mast ; and it seems the 
majority there were for pickling up the poor Dutchmen 
among the herrings ; in a word, they were for throwing them 
all into the sea. Poor William the quaker was in great 
concern about this, and comes directly to me to talk about 
it. Hark thee, says William, what wilt thou do with these 
Dutchmen thou hast on board ? Thou wilt not let them 
go, I suppose, says he. Why, says I, William, would you 
advise me to let them go ? No, says William, I cannot say 
it is fit for thee to let them go ; that is to say, to go on with 
their voyage to Batavia, because it is not for thy turn that 
the Dutch at Batavia should have any knowledge of thy 
being in these seas. Well, then, says I to him, I know no 
remedy but to throw them overboard. You know, William, 
says I, a Dutchman swims like a fish : and all our people 


here are of the same opinion as well as I. At the same 
time, I resolved it should not be done, but wanted to hear 
what William would say. He gravely replied, If all the 
men in the ship were of that mind, I will never believe 
that thou wilt be of that mind thyself; for I have heard 
thee protest against cruelty in all other cases. Well, William, 
says I, that is true ; but what then shall we do with them ? 
Why, says William, is there no way but to murder them ? 
I am persuaded thou canst not be in earnest. No, indeed, 
William, says I, I am not in earnest ; but they shall not 
go to Java, no, nor to Ceylon, that is certain. But, says 
William, the men have done thee no injury at all : what 
canst thou pretend to hurt them for ? Nay, William, says 
I, do not talk of that ; I have pretence enough, if that be 
all : my pretence is, to prevent doing me hurt ; and that is 
as necessary a piece of the law of self-preservation as any 
you can name : but the main thing is, I know not what to 
do with them, to prevent their prating. 

While William and I were talking, the poor Dutchmen 
were openly condemned to die, as it may be called, by the 
whole ship's company ; and so warm were the men upon it, 
that they grew very clamorous ; and when they heard that 
William was against it, some of them swore they should die, 
and, if William opposed it, he should drown along with 

But as I was resolved to put an end to their cruel pro- 
ject, so I found it was time to take upon me a little, or the 
bloody humour might grow too strong ; so I called the 
Dutchmen up, and talked a little with them. First, I asked 
them if they were willing to go with us; two of them 
offered it presently; but the rest, which were fourteen, 
declined it. Well then, said I, where would you go? 
They desired they should go to Ceylon. No, I told them, 


I could not allow them to go to any Dutch factory, and told 
them very plainly the reasons of it, which they could not 
deny to be just. I let them know also the cruel bloody 
measures of our men, but that I had resolved to save them, 
if possible ; and therefore I told them I would set them on 
shore at some English factory at Bengal, or put them on 
board an English ship I met, after I was past the Straits of 
Sunda or of Malacca, but not before ; for, as to my coming 
back again, I told them, I would run the venture of their 
Dutch power from Batavia ; but I would not have the news 
come there before me, because it would make all their 
merchant-ships lay up, and keep out of our way. 

It came next into our consideration, what we should do 
with the ship : bnt this was not long resolving ; for there 
were but two ways, either to set her on fire, or to run her 
on shore ; and we chose the last : so we set her fore-sail 
with the tack at the cat-head, and lashed her helm a little 
to starboard, to answer her head-sail, and so set her a-going, 
with neither cat nor dog in her ; and it was not above two 
hours before we saw her run right ashore upon the coast, a 
little beyond the Cape Comorin ; and away we went round 
about Ceylon, for the coast of Coromandel. 

We sailed along there, not in sight of the shore only, but 
so near as to see the ships in the road at Fort St. David,* 
Fort St George,f and at the other factories]: along that 
shore, as well as along the coast of Golconda, carrying 
our English ancient when we came near the Dutch factories, 
and Dutch colours when we passed by the English factories. 
We met with little purchase upon this coast, except two 
small vessels of Golconda, bound cross the bay with bales 
of calicoes and muslins, and wrought silks, and fifteen bales 
of romals, from the bottom of the bay, which were going, 
* Cuddalore. t Madras. J Trading Stations. 


on whose account we knew not, to Achin, and to other 
ports on the coast of Malacca ; we did not inquire to what 
place in particular ; but we let the vessels go, having none 
but Indians on board. 

In the bottom of the bay we met with a great junk, 
belonging to the Mogul's court, with a great many people, 
passengers as we supposed them to be : it seems they 
were bound for the river Hugely, or Ganges, and came 
from Sumatra. This was a prize worth taking indeed ; and 
we got so much gold in her, besides other goods which we 
did not meddle with, pepper in particular, that it had like 
to have put an end to our cruise ; for almost all my men 
said we were rich enough, and desired to go back again to 
Madagascar : but I had other things in my head still ; and 
when I came to talk to them, and set friend William 
to talk with them, we put such further golden hopes into 
their heads, that we soon prevailed with them to let us 
go on. 

My next design was to leave all the dangerous Straits of 
Malacca, Sincapore, and Sunda, where we could expect no 
great booty, but what we might light on in European ships, 
which we must fight for; and though we were able to fight, 
and wanted no courage, even to desperation ; yet we were 
rich too, and resolved to be richer, and took this for 
our maxim, that while we were sure the wealth we sought 
was to be had without fighting, we had no occasion to put 
ourselves to the necessity of fighting for that which would 
come upon easy terms. 



WE left, therefore, the Bay of Bengal, and coming to the 
coast of Sumatra, we put in at a small port, where there was 
a town, inhabited only by Malayans ; and here we took in 
fresh water, and a large quantity of good pork, pickled up 
and well salted, notwithstanding the heat of the climate, 
being in the very middle of the torrid zone viz., in 3 
degrees 15 minutes north latitude. We also took on board 
both our vessels, forty hogs alive, which served us for fresh 
provisions, having abundance of food for them, such as the 
country produced ; such as guams, potatoes, and a sort of 
coarse rice, good for nothing else but to feed the swine. 
We killed one of these hogs every day, and found them to 
be excellent meat We took in also a monstrous quantity 
of ducks, and cocks and hens, the same kind as we have in 
England, which we kept for change of provisions ; and, if I 
remember right, we had no less than two thousand of them ; 
so that at first we were pestered with them very much, but 
we soon lessened them by boiling, roasting, stewing, etc., 
for we never wanted while we had them. 

My long projected design now lay open to me, which 
was to fall amongst the Dutch Spice Islands, and see what 
mischief I could do there ; accordingly, we put out to sea, 
the 1 2th of August, and passing the line on the i7th, we 
stood away due south, leaving the Straits of Sunda, and the 
isle of Java on the east, till we came to the latitude of 1 1 
degress 20 minutes, when we steered east and E.N.E., 
having easy gales from the W.S.W. till we came among the 
Moluccas, or Spice Islands. 

We passed those seas with less difficulty than in other 
places, the winds to the south of Java being more variable, 


and the weather good, though sometimes we met with 
squally weather, and short storms; but when we came in 
among the Spice Islands themselves, we had a share 
of the monsoons, or trade winds, and made use of them 

The infinite number of islands which lie in these seas 
embarrassed us strangely, and it was with great difficulty 
that we worked our way through them ; then we steered for 
the north side of the Philippines, where we had a double 
chance for purchase viz., either to meet with the Spanish 
ships from Acapulco, on the coast of New Spain, or we 
were certain not to fail of finding some ships or junks of 
China, who, if they came from China, would have a great 
quantity of goods of value on board, as well as money ; or, 
if we took them going back, we should find them loaden 
with nutmegs and cloves from Banda and Ternate, or from 
some of the other islands. 

We were right in our guesses here to a tittle, and we 
steered directly through a large outlet, which they call a 
strait, though it be fifteen miles broad, and to an island 
they call Daurma, and from thence N.N.E. to Banda. 
Between these islands we met with a Dutch junk, or vessel, 
going to Amboyna : we took her without much trouble, and 
I had much ado to prevent our men murdering all the men, 
as soon as they heard them say they belonged to Amboyna : 
the reason I suppose any one will guess.* 

We took out of her about sixteen tons of nutmegs, some 
provisions, and their small arms, for they had no great 
guns, and let the ship go : from thence we sailed directly to 
the Banda island, or islands, where we were sure to get 
more nutmegs, if we thought fit. For my part, I would 

* The cruelties of the Dutch to the English at Amboyna. Dryden 
has written a play on this subject. 


willingly have got more nutmegs, though I had paid for 
them, but our people abhorred paying for anything : so we 
got about twelve tons more at several times, most of them 
from shore, and only a few in a small boat of the natives, 
which was going to Gilolo. We would have traded openly, 
but the Dutch, who have made themselves masters of all 
those islands, forbid the people dealing with us, or any 
strangers whatever, and kept them so in awe, that they 
durst not do it ; so we could indeed have made nothing of 
it if we had stayed longer, and therefore resolved to be gone 
for Ternate, and see if we could make up our loading with 

Accordingly, we stood away north, but found ourselves so 
entangled among innumerable islands, and without any pilot 
that understood the channel and races between them, that 
we were obliged to give it over, and resolved to go back 
again to Banda, and see what we could get among the other 
islands thereabouts. 

The first adventure we made here had like to have been 
fatal to us all, for the sloop being ahead, made the signal to 
us for seeing a sail, and afterwards another, and a third, by 
which we understood she saw three sail : whereupon we 
made more sail to come up with her, but on a sudden were 
gotten among some rocks, falling foul upon them in such a 
manner as frightened us all very heartily: for having, it 
seems, but just water enough, as it were to an inch, our 
rudder struck upon the top of a rock, which gave us a 
terrible shock, and split a great piece off the rudder, and 
indeed disabled it so, that our ship would not steer at all, at 
least not so as to be depended upon ; and we were glad to 
hand all our sails, except our fore-sail and maintop-sail, and 
with them we stood away to the east to see if we could find 
any creek or harbour where we might lay the ship on shore 


and repair our rudder ; besides, we found the ship herself 
received some damage, for she had some little leak near 
her sternpost, but a great way under water. 

By this mischance we lost the advantages, whatever they 
were, of the three sail of ships, which we afterwards came to 
hear were small Dutch ships from Batavia, going to Banda 
and Amboyna, to load spice, and, no doubt, had a good 
quantity of money on board. 

Upon the disaster I have been speaking of, you may very 
well suppose that we came to an anchor as soon as we 
could, which was upon a small island not far from Banda, 
where, though the Dutch keep no factory, yet they come at 
the season to buy nutmegs and mace. We stayed there 
thirteen days ; but there being no place where we could lay 
the ship on shore, we sent the sloop to cruise among the 
islands, to look out for a place fit for us. In the mean- 
time we got very good water here, some provisions, roots, 
and fruits, and a good quantity of nutmegs and mace, 
which we found ways to trade with the natives for, without 
the knowledge of their masters, the Dutch. 

At length our sloop returned; having found another 
island where there was a very good harbour, we ran in, and 
came to an anchor. We immediately unbent all our sails, 
sent them ashore upon the island, and set up seven or eight 
tents with them : then we unrigged our topmasts, and 
lovvered them down, hoisted all our guns out, our provisions 
and plunder, and put them ashore in the tents. With the 
guns we made two small batteries, for fear of a surprise, 
and kept a look-out upon the hill. When we were all 
ready we laid the ship aground upon a hard sand, the 
upper end of the harbour, and shored her up on each side. 
At low water she lay almost dry, so we mended her bottom, 
and stopped the leak, which was occasioned by straining 

3 2 9 


some of the rudder irons with the shock which the ship had 
against the rock. 

Having done this, we also took occasion to clean her 
bottom, which, having been at sea so long, was very foul. 
The sloop washed and tallowed also, but was ready before 
us, and cruised eight or ten days among the islands, but 
met with no purchase; so that we began to be tired of 
the place, having little to divert us but the most furious claps 
of thunder that ever were heard or read of in the world. 

We were in hopes to have met with some purchase here 
among the Chinese, who, we had been told, came to 
Ternate to trade for cloves, and to the Banda isles for 
nutmegs ; and we would have been very glad to have 
loaded our galleon, or great ship, with these two sorts of 
spice, and have thought it a glorious voyage ; but we found 
nothing stirring more than what I have said, except Dutch- 
men, who, by what means we could not imagine, had either 
a jealousy of us, or intelligence of us, and kept themselves 
close in their ports. 

I was once resolved to have made a descent at the island 
of Dumas, the place most famous for the best nutmegs ; but 
friend William, who was always for doing our business with- 
out fighting, dissuaded me from it, and gave such reasons 
for it that we could not resist ; particularly the great heats 
of the season and of the place, for we were now in the 
latitude of just half a degree south; but while we were 
disputing this point, we were soon determined by the 
following accident. We had a strong gale of wind at S.W. 
by W., and the ship had fresh way, but a great sea rolling in 
upon us from the N.E., which we afterwards found was the 
pouring in of the great ocean east of New Guinea. How- 
ever, as I said, we stood away large,* and made fresh way, 
* Going with the wind free when the studding sails will draw. 


when, on the sudden, from a dark cloud which hovered over 
our heads, came a flash, or rather blast of lightning, which 
was so terrible, and quivered so long among us, that not 
I only, but all our men, thought the ship was on fire. The 
heat of the flash or fire was so sensibly felt in our faces that 
some of our men had blisters raised by it on their skins, 
not immediately perhaps by the heat, but by the poisonous 
or noxious particles, which mixed themselves with the 
matter inflamed. But this was not all ; the shock of the 
air, which the fracture of the clouds made, was such, that 
our ship shook as when a broadside is fired; and her motion 
being checked, as it were, at once, by a repulse superior to 
the force that gave her way before, the sails all flew back 
in a moment, and the ship lay, as we might truly say, 
thunderstruck. As the blast from the cloud was so very 
near us, it was but a few moments after the flash that the 
terriblest clap of thunder followed that was ever heard by 
mortals. I firmly believe a blast from a hundred thousand 
barrels of gunpowder could not have been greater to our 
hearing ; nay, indeed, to some of our men it took away 
their hearing. 

It is not possible for me to describe, or any one to 
conceive, the terror of that minute. Our men were in such 
a consternation, that not a man on board the ship had 
presence of mind to apply to the proper duty of a sailor, 
except friend William ; and had he not run very nimbly, 
and with a composure that I am sure I was not master of, 
to let go the fore-sheet, set in the weather-brace of the fore- 
yard, and haul down the top-sails, we had certainly brought 
all our masts by the board, and perhaps have been 
overwhelmed in the sea. 

As for myself, I must confess my eyes were open to my 
danger, though not the least to anything of application for 


remedy. I was all amazement and confusion, and this was 
the first time that I can say I began to feel the effects of that 
horror which I know since much more of, upon the just 
reflection on my former life. I thought myself doomed by 
Heaven to sink that moment into eternal destruction ; 
and with this peculiar mark of terror viz., that the 
vengeance was not executed in the ordinary way of human 
justice, but that God had taken me into his immediate 
disposing, and had resolved to be the executor of his own 

Let them alone describe the confusion I was in, who 

know what was the case of Child of Shadwell, or 

Francis Spira.* It is impossible to describe it. My soul 
was all amazement and surprise ; I thought myself just 
sinking into eternity, owning the divine justice of my 
punishment, but not at all feeling any of the moving, 
softening tokens of a sincere penitent ; afflicted at the 
punishment, but not at the crime ; alarmed at the 
vengeance, but not terrified at the guilt ; having the same 
gust to the crime, though terrified to the last degree at the 
thought of the punishment, which I concluded I was just 
now going to receive. 

But perhaps many that read this will be sensible of the 
thunder and lightning, that may think nothing of the rest, 
or rather may make a jest of it all ; so I say no more of it 
at this time, but proceed to the story of the voyage. When 
the amazement was over, and the men began to come to 
themselves, they fell a-calling for one another, every one for 
his friend, or for those he had most respect for ; and it was 
a singular satisfaction to find that nobody was hurt. The 

* John Child and Francis Spira, Apostates. See A relation of the 
fearefull estate, etc., by Nathaniel Bacon. London, 1640. Evidently 
a favourite book from the number of subsequent editions. 


next thing was to inquire if the ship had received no 
damage, when the boatswain stepping forward found that 
part of the head was gone, but not so as to endanger the 
bowsprit ; so we hoisted our top-sails again, hauled aft the 
fore-sheet, braced the yards, and went our course as before. 
Nor can I deny but that we were all somewhat like the ship; 
our first astonishment being a little over, and that we found 
the ship swim again, we were soon the same irreligious 
hardened crew that we were before, and I among the rest. 

As we now steered, our course lay N.N.E., and we passed 
thus, with a fair wind, through the straight or channel 
between the island of Gilolo and the land of Nova Guinea, 
when we were soon in the open sea or ocean, on the south- 
east of the Philippines, being the great Pacific, or South 
Sea, where it may be said to join itself with the vast Indian 

As we passed into these seas, steering due north, so we 
soon crossed the line to the north side, and so sailed on 
towards Mindanao and Manilla, the chief of the Philippine 
islands, without meeting with any purchase, till we came to 
the northward of Manilla, and then our trade began; for 
here we took three Japanese vessels, though at some dis- 
tance from Manilla. Two of them had made their market, 
and were going home with nutmegs, cinnamon, cloves, etc., 
besides all sorts of European goods, brought with the 
Spanish ships from Acapulco. They had together eight- 
and-thirty tons of cloves, and five or six tons of nutmegs, 
and as much cinnamon. We took the spice, but meddled 
with very little of the European goods, they being, as 
we thought, not worth our while ; but we were very sorry 
for it soon after, and therefore grew wiser upon the next 

The third Japanese was the best prize to us ; for he came 


with money, and a great deal of gold uncoined, to buy such 
goods as we mentioned above. We eased him of his gold, 
and did him no other harm, and, having no intention to 
stay long here, we stood away for China. 

We were at sea above two months upon this voyage, 
beating it up against the wind, which blew steadily from 
the N.E. and within a point or two one way or other; and 
this indeed was the reason why we met with the more 
prizes in our voyage. 

We were just gotten clear of the Philippines, and we 
purposed to go to the isle of Formosa, but the wind blew 
so fresh at N.N.E. that there was no making anything of it, 
and we were forced to put back to Laconia, the most 
northerly of those islands. We rode here very secure, and 
shifted our situation, not in view of any danger, for there 
was none, but for a better supply of provisions, which we 
found the people very willing to supply us with. 

There lay, while we remained here, three very great 
galleons, or Spanish ships, from the South Seas ; whether 
newly come in, or ready to sail, we could not understand at 
first ; but as we found the China traders began to load and 
set forward to the north, we concluded the Spanish ships 
had newly unloaded their cargo, and these had been 
buying ; so we doubted not but we should meet with pur- 
chase in the rest of our voyage, neither, indeed, could we 
well miss of it 

We stayed here till the beginning of May, when we were 
told the Chinese traders would set forward ; for the northern 
monsoons end about the latter end of March, or beginning 
of April ; so that they are sure of fair winds home. Ac- 
cordingly we hired some of the country boats, which are 
very swift sailers, to go and bring us word how affairs stood 
at Manilla, and when the China junks would sail ; and by 


this intelligence we ordered our matters so well, that, three 
days after we set sail, we fell in with no less than eleven of 
them ; out of which, however, having, by misfortune of 
discovering ourselves, taken but three, we contented our- 
selves, and pursued our voyage to Formosa. In these three 
vessels we took, in short, such a quantity of cloves, nutmegs, 
cinnamon, and mace, besides silver, that our men began to 
be of my opinion that we were rich enough ; and, in short, 
we had nothing to do now, but to consider by what methods 
to secure the immense treasure we had got. 

I was secretly glad to hear that they were of this opinion ; 
for I had long before resolved, if it was possible, to persuade 
them to think of returning, having fully perfected my first 
projected design, of rummaging among the Spice Islands ; 
and all those prizes, which were exceeding rich at Manilla, 
was quite beyond my design. 

But now I had heard what the men said, and how they 
thought we were very well, I let them know, by friend 
William, that I intended only to sail to the island of 
Formosa, where I should find opportunity to turn our spices 
and European goods into ready money, and that then I 
would tack about for the south, the northern monsoons 
being perhaps by that time also ready to set in. They all 
approved of my design, and willingly went forward; be- 
cause, besides the winds, which would not permit until 
October to go to the south ; I say, besides this, we were 
now a very deep ship, having near two hundred tons of 
goods on board, and particularly some very valuable : the 
sloop also had a proportion. 

With this resolution we went on cheerfully, when within 
about twelve days' sail more, we made the island Formosa, 
at a great distance, but were ourselves shot beyond the 
southernmost part of the island, being to leeward, and 


almost upon the coast of China. Here we were a little at a 
loss ; for the English factories were not very far off, and we 
might be obliged to fight some of their ships, if we met with 
them ; which, though we were able enough to do, yet we 
did not desire it, on many accounts, and particularly, 
because we did not think it was our business to have it 
known who we were, or that such a kind of people as we had 
been seen on the coast. However, we were obliged to keep 
up to the northward, keeping as good an offing as we could 
with respect to the coast of China. We had not sailed 
long before we chased a small Chinese junk ; and having 
taken her, we found she was bound to the island of 
Formosa, having no goods on board but some rice, and a 
small quantity of tea ; but she had three Chinese merchants 
in her ; and they told us they were going to meet a large 
vessel of their country, which came from Tonquin, and lay 
in a river in Formosa, whose name I forgot ; and they were 
going to the Philippine Islands with silks, muslins, calicoes, 
and such goods as are the product of China, and some gold 
that their business was to sell their cargo, and buy spices 
and European goods. 

This suited very well with our purpose ; so I resolved 
now that we would leave off being pirates, and turn mer- 
chants : so we told them what goods we had on board, and 
that, if they would bring their supercargoes or merchants on 
board, we would trade with them. They were very willing 
to trade with us, but terribly afraid to trust us : nor was it 
an unjust fear, for we had plundered them already of what 
they had. On the other hand, we were as diffident as they, 
and very uncertain what to do ; but William the quaker put 
this matter into a way of barter. He came to me, and told 
me he really thought the merchants looked like fair men, 
that meant honestly. And besides, says William, it is their 


interest to be honest now; for, as they knew upon what 
terms we got the goods we are to truck with them, so they 
know we can afford good pennyworths ; and, in the next 
place, it saves them going the whole voyage ; so that the 
southerly monsoons yet holding, if they traded with us, they 
could immediately return with their cargo to China ; though, 
by the way, we afterwards found they intended for Japan 
but that was all one, for by this means they saved at least 
eight months' voyage. Upon these foundations William 
said he was satisfied we might trust them : for, says 
William, I would as soon trust a man whose interest binds 
him to be just to me, as a man whose principle binds 
himself. Upon the whole, William proposed that two of 
the merchants should be left on board our ship as hostages, 
and that part of our goods should be loaded in their vessel, 
and let the third go with it into the port where their ship 
lay ; and when he had delivered the spices, he should bring 
back such things as it was agreed should be exchanged. 
This was concluded on, and William the quaker ventured to 
go along with them ; which, upon my word, I should not 
have cared to have done, nor was I willing that he should ; 
but he went still upon the notion, that it was their interest 
to treat him friendly. 

In the meantime we came to an anchor under a little 
island, in the latitude of 23 degrees 28 minutes, being just 
under the northern tropic, and about twenty leagues from 
the island. Here we lay thirteen days, and began to be 
very uneasy for my friend William ; for they had promised 
to be back again in four days, which they might very easily 
have done. However, at the end of thirteen days we saw 
three sail coming directly to us, which a little surprised us 
all at first, not knowing what might be the case, and we 
began to put ourselves in a posture of defence; but as 


they came nearer us, we were soon satisfied : for the first 
vessel was that which William went in, who carried a flag of 
truce ; and in a few hours they all came to an anchor, and 
William came on board us with a little boat, with the 
Chinese merchant in his company, and two other merchants, 
which seemed to be a kind of brokers for the rest. 

Here he gave us an account how civilly he had been used ; 
how they had treated him with all imaginable frankness and 
openness ; that they had not only given him the full value 
of his spices and other goods which he carried in gold, by 
good weight, but had loaded the vessel again with such 
goods as he knew we were willing to trade for ; and that 
afterwards they had resolved to bring the great ship out of 
the harbour, to lie where we were, that so we might make 
what bargain we thought fit; only William said he had 
promised, in our name, that we should use no violence with 
them, nor detain any of the vessels after we had done 
trading with them. I told him we would strive to outdo 
them in civility, and that we would make good every part of 
his agreement : in token whereof, I caused a white flag 
likewise to be spread at the poop of our great ship, which 
was the signal agreed on. 

As to the third vessel which came with them, it was a 
kind of barque of the country, who, having intelligence 
of our design to traffic, came off to deal with us, bringing a 
great deal of gold, and some provisions, which at that time 
we were very glad of. 

In short, we traded upon the high seas with these men, 
and indeed we made a very good market, and yet sold 
thieves' pennyworths too. We sold here about sixty tons of 
spice, chiefly cloves and nutmegs, and above two hundred 
bales of European goods, such as linen and woollen 
manufactures. We considered we should have occasion for 


some such things ourselves, and so we kept a good quantity 
of English stuffs, cloths, baize, etc., for ourselves. I shall 
not take up any of the little room I have left here with the 
further particulars of our trade ; it is enough to mention, 
that, except a parcel of tea, and twelve bales of fine China 
wrought silks, we took nothing in exchange for our goods 
but gold ; so that the sum we took here in that glittering 
commodity amounted to above fifty thousand ounces, good 

When we had finished our barter, we restored the 
hostages, and gave the three merchants about the quantity 
of twelve hundredweight of nutmegs, and as many of 
cloves, with a handsome present of European linen and stuff 
for themselves, as a recompense for what we had taken from 
them ; and so we sent them away exceedingly well satisfied. 

Here it was that William gave me an account, that, while 
he was on board the Japanese vessel, he met with a kind of 
religious, or Japan priest, who spoke some words of English 
to him ; and, being very inquisitive to know how he came 
to learn any of those words, he told him, that there was in 
his country thirteen Englishmen ; he called them English- 
men very articulately and distinctly, for he had conversed 
with them very frequently and freely. He said they were 
all that were left of two-and-thirty men, who came on shore 
on the north side of Japan, being driven upon a great rock 
in a stormy night, where they lost their ship, and the 
rest of their men were drowned; that he had 
persuaded the king of his country to send boats off to the 
rock, or island, where the ship was lost, to save the rest 
of the men, and to bring them on shore ; which was done, 
and they were used very kindly, and had houses built for 
them, and land given them to plant for provision ; and that 
they lived by themselves. 


He said he went frequently among them, to persuade 
them to worship their god (an idol, I suppose, of their own 
making), which, he said, they ungratefully refused ; and 
that therefore the king had once or twice ordered them all 
to be put to death ; but that, as he said, he had prevailed 
upon the king to spare them, and let them live their own 
way, as long as they were quiet and peaceable, and did not 
go about to withdraw others from the worship of the 

I asked William why he did not inquire from whence 
they came ? I did, said William ; for how could I but 
think it strange, said he, to hear him talk of Englishmen on 
the north side of Japan ? Well, said I, what account did he 
give of it? An account, said William, that will surprise 
thee and all the world after thee that shall hear of it, and 
which makes me wish thou wouldst go up to Japan, and 
find them out. What do ye mean ? said I : whence could 
they come? Why, says William, he pulled out a little 
book, and in it a piece of paper, where it was written, in 
an Englishman's hand, and in plain English words, thus ; 
and, says William, I read it myself: "We came from 
Greenland, and from the North Pole." This, indeed, was 
amazing to us all, and more so to those seamen among 
us who knew anything of the infinite attempts which had 
been made from Europe, as well by the English as the 
Dutch, to discover a passage that way into those parts 
of the world ; and, as William pressed us earnestly to go on 
to the north to rescue those poor men, so the ship's 
company began to incline to it ; and, in a word, we all came 
to this, that we would stand in to the shore of Formosa, to 
find this priest again, and have a farther account of it all 
from him. Accordingly the sloop went over ; but when 
they came there, the vessels were very unhappily sailed, and 


this put an end to our inquiry after them, and perhaps may 
have disappointed mankind of one of the most noble 
discoveries that ever was made, or will again be made, in 
the world, for the good of mankind in general ; but so 
much for that. 


WILLIAM was so uneasy at losing this opportunity, that he 
pressed us earnestly to go up to Japan, to find out these 
men. He told us, that if it was nothing but to recover 
thirteen honest, poor men from a kind of captivity, which 
they would otherwise never be redeemed from, and where, 
perhaps, they might, some time or other, be murdered by 
the barbarous people, in defence of their idolatry, it were 
very well worth our while, and it would be, in some 
measure, making amends for the mischiefs we had done in 
the world ; but we, that had no concern upon us for the 
mischiefs we had done, had much less about any satisfac- 
tions to be made for it ; so he found that kind of discourse 
would weigh very little with us. Then he pressed us very 
earnestly to let him have the sloop to go by himself, and I 
told him I would not oppose it ; but, when he came to the 
sloop, none of the men would go with him ; for the case 
was plain, they had all a share in the cargo of the great 
ship, as well as in that of the sloop, and the richness of the 
cargo was such that they would not leave it by any means : 
so poo*r William, much to his mortification, was obliged to 
give it over. What became of those thirteen men, or 
whether they are not there still, I can give no account of. 

We were now at the end of our cruise; what we had 
taken was indeed so considerable, that it was not only 
enough to satisfy the most covetous and the most ambitious 


minds in the world, but it did indeed satisfy us ; and our 
men declared they did not desire any more. The next 
motion, therefore, was about going back, and the way by 
which we should perform the voyage, so as not to be 
attacked by the Dutch in the straits of Sunda. 

We had pretty well stored ourselves here with provisions, 
and it being now near the return of the monsoons, we 
resolved to stand away to the southward ; and not only to 
keep without the Philippine islands, that is to say, to the 
eastward of them, but to keep on to the southward, and see 
if we could not leave, not only the Moluccas, or Spice 
Islands, behind us, but even Nova Guinea, and Nova 
Hollandia also ; and so getting into variable winds, to the 
south of the tropic of Capricorn, steer away to the west, 
over the great Indian Ocean. 

This was indeed at first a monstrous voyage in its 
appearance, and the want of provisions threatened us. 
William told us in so many words, that it was impossible we 
could carry provisions enough to subsist us for such a 
voyage, and especially fresh water ; and that, as there would 
be no land for us to touch at where we could get any 
supply, it was a madness to undertake it. 

But I undertook to remedy this evil, and therefore desired 
them not to be uneasy at that, for I knew that we might 
supply ourselves at Mindanao, the most southern island of 
the Philippines. Accordingly we set sail, having taken all 
the provisions here that we could get, the 28th of September, 
the wind veering a little at first from the N.N.W. to the 
N.E. by E., but afterwards settled about the N.E. and the 
E.N.E. We were nine weeks in this voyage, having met 
with several interruptions by the weather, and put in under 
the lee of a small island, in the latitude of 16 degrees 12 
minutes, of which we never knew the name, none of our 


charts having given any account of it ; I say, we put in here 
by reason of a strange tornado, or hurricane, which brought 
us into a great deal of danger. Here we rode about 
sixteen days, the winds being very tempestuous, and the 
weather uncertain. However, we got some provisions on 
shore, such as plants and roots, and a few hogs. We 
believed there were inhabitants on the island, but we saw 
none of them. 

From hence, the weather settling again, we went on, and 
came to the southernmost part of Mindanao, where we took 
in fresh water, and some cows ; but the climate was so hot, 
that we did not attempt to salt up any more than so as to 
keep a fortnight or three weeks ; and away we stood south- 
ward, crossing the line, and leaving Gilolo on the starboard 
side, we coasted the country they call New Guinea, where, 
in the latitude of 8 degrees south, we put in again for pro- 
visions and water, and where we found inhabitants ; but 
they fled from us, and were altogether inconversible. From 
thence, sailing still southward, we left all behind us that any 
of our charts or maps took any notice of, and went on till 
we came to the latitude of 17 degrees, the wind continuing 
still N.E. 

Here we made land to the westward, which, when we had 
kept in sight for three days, coasting along the shore for the 
distance of about four leagues, we began to fear we should 
find no outlet west, and so should be obliged to go back 
again, and put in among the Moluccas at last ; but at 
length we found the land break off, and go trending away 
to the West Sea, seeming to be all open to the south and 
S.W., and a great sea came rolling out of the south, which 
gave us to understand that there was no land for a great 

In a word, we kept on our course to the south, a little 


westerly, till we passed the south tropic, where we found 
the winds variable ; and now we stood away fair west, and 
held it out for about twenty days, when we discovered land 
right ahead, and on our larboard bow ; we made directly to 
the shore, being willing to take all advantages now for 
supplying ourselves with fresh provisions and water, know- 
ing we were now entering on that vast unknown Indian 
Ocean, perhaps the greatest sea on the globe, having, with 
very little interruption of islands, a continued sea quite 
round the globe. 

We found a good road here, and some people on shore ; 
but when we landed they fled up the country, nor would 
they hold any correspondence with us, or come near us, but 
shot at us several times with arrows as long as lances. We 
set up white flags for a truce ; but they either did not, or 
would not, understand it : on the contrary, they shot our 
flag of truce through several times with their arrows ; so 
that, in a word, we never came near any of them. 

We found good water here, though it was something 
difficult to get at it ; but for living creatures, we could see 
none ; for the people, if they had any cattle, drove them all 
away, and showed us nothing but themselves, and that 
sometimes in a threatening posture, and in number so 
great, that made us suppose the island to be greater than 
we at first imagined. It is true, they would not come near 
enough for us to engage with them, at least not openly ; but 
they came near enough for us to see them, and, by the help 
of our glasses, to see that they were clothed and armed, but 
their clothes were only about their lower and middle parts , 
that they had long lances, like half pikes, in their hands, 
besides bows and arrows ; that they had great high things 
on their heads, made, as we believed, of feathers, and which 
looked something like our grenadiers' caps in England. 


When we saw them so shy, that they would not come 
near us, our men began to range over the island, if it was 
such, for we never surrounded it, to search for cattle, and 
for any of the Indian plantations, for fruits or plants ; but 
they soon found, to their cost, that they were to use more 
caution than that came to, and that they were to discover 
perfectly every bush and every tree before they ventured 
abroad in the country ; for about fourteen of our men going 
farther than the rest, into a part of the country which 
seemed to be planted, as they thought, for it did but seem 
so, only I think it was overgrown with canes, such as we 
make our cane chairs with ; I say, venturing too far, they 
were suddenly attacked with a shower of arrows from 
almost every side of them, as they thought, out of the tops 
of the trees. 

They had nothing to do but to fly for it, which, however, 
they could not resolve on till five of them were wounded ; 
nor had they escaped so if one of them had not been so 
much wiser, or more thoughtful, than the rest, as to con- 
sider that though they could not see the enemy, so as to 
shoot at them, yet perhaps the noise of their shot might 
terrify them, and that they should rather fire at a venture. 
Accordingly, ten of them faced about, and fired at random 
anywhere among the canes. 

The noise and the fire not only terrified the enemy, 
but, as they believed, their shot had luckily hit some of 
them ; for they found not only that the arrows, which came 
thick among them before, ceased ; but they heard the 
Indians halloo, after their way, to one another, and make a 
strange noise, more uncouth, and inimitably strange, than 
any they had ever heard, more like the howling and barking 
of wild creatures in the woods, than like the voice of men, 
only that sometimes they seemed to speak words. 



They observed also that this noise of the Indians went 
farther and farther off, so that they were satisfied the 
Indians fled away, except on one side, where they heard 
a doleful groaning and howling, and where it continued a 
good while, which they supposed was from some or other 
of them being wounded, and howling by reason of their 
wounds ; or killed, and others howling over them ; but our 
men had enough of making discoveries ; so they did not 
trouble themselves to look farther, but resolved to take this 
opportunity to retreat. But the worst of their adventure 
was to come; for as they came back they passed by a 
prodigious great trunk of an old tree ; what tree it was they 
said they did not know, but it stood like an old decayed 
oak in a park, where the keepers in England take a stand, 
as they call it, to shoot a deer ; and it stood just under the 
steep side of a great rock or hill, that our people could not 
see what v,-as beyond it. 

As they came by this tree they were of a sudden shot at 
from the top of the tree, with seven arrows and three lances, 
which, to our great grief, killed two of our men, and 
wounded three more. This was the more surprising, 
because, being without any defence, and so near the trees, 
they expected more lances and arrows every moment ; nor 
would flying do them any service, the Indians being, as ap- 
peared, very good marksmen. In this extremity they had 
happily this presence of mind viz., to run close to the tree 
and stand as it were under it ; so that those above could not 
come at, or see them, to throw their lances at them. This 
succeeded, and gave them time to consider what to do ; 
they knew their enemies and murderers were above ; they 
heard them talk, and those above knew those were below ; 
but they below were obliged to keep close for fear of their 
lances from above. At length one of our men looking a 


little more strictly than the rest, thought he saw the head of 
one of the Indians, just over a dead limb of the tree, which, 
it seems the creature sat upon. One man immediately 
fired, and levelled his piece so true that the shot went 
through the fellow's head ; and down he fell out of the tree 
immediately, and came upon the ground with such force, 
with the height of his fall, that if he had not been killed 
with the shot, he would certainly have been killed with 
dashing his body against the ground. 

This so frightened them, that, besides the ugly howling 
noise they made in the tree, our men heard a strange 
clutter of them in the body of the tree, from whence they 
concluded they had made the tree hollow, and were gone to 
hide themselves there. Now, had this been the case, they 
were secure enough from our men, for it was impossible any 
of our men could get up the tree on the outside, there being 
no branches to climb by ; and, to shoot at the tree, that 
they tried several times to no purpose, for the tree was so 
thick that no shot would enter it. They made no doubt, 
however, but that they had their enemies in a trap, and that 
a small siege would either bring them down, tree and all, or 
starve them out ; so they resolved to keep their post and 
send to us for help. Accordingly, two of them came away 
to us for more hands, and particularly desired that some of 
our carpenters might come with tools to help to cut down 
the tree, or at least to cut down other wood and set fire to 
it ; and that, they concluded, would not fail to bring them 

Accordingly, our men went like a little army, and with 
mighty preparation for an enterprise the like of which has 
scarce been ever heard, to form the siege of a great tree. 
However, when they came there, they found the task 
difficult enough, for the old trunk was indeed a very great 


one, and very tall, being at least two-and-twenty feet high, 
with seven old limbs standing out every way on the top, 
but decayed, and very few leaves, if any, left on it. 

William the quaker, whose curiosity led him to go among 
the rest, proposed that they should make a ladder, and get 
upon the top, and then throw wildfire into the tree and 
smoke them out. Others proposed going back, and getting 
a great tree, and smoke them out. Others proposed going 
back, and getting a great gun out of the ship, which would 
split the tree in pieces with the iron bullets ; others, that 
they should cut down a great deal of wood and pile it 
up round the tree, and set it on fire, and burn the tree and 
the Indians in it. 

These consultations took up our people no less than two 
or three days, in all which time they heard nothing of the 
supposed garrison within this wooden castle, nor any noise 
within. William's project was first gone about, and a large 
strong ladder was made to scale this wooden tower ; and in 
two or three hours' time it would have been ready to 
mount, when, on a sudden, they heard the noise of the 
Indians in the body of the tree again, and a little after, 
several of them appeared in the top of the tree, and threw 
some lances down at our men ; one of which struck one of 
our seamen a-top of the shoulder, and gave him such a 
desperate wound that the surgeons not only had a great 
deal of difficulty to cure him, but the poor man endured 
such horrible torture, that we all said they had better 
have killed him outright. However, he was cured at last, 
though he never recovered the perfect use of his arm, the 
lance having cut some of the tendons on the top of the arm, 
near the shoulder, which, as I suppose, performed the office 
of motion to the limb before ; so that the poor man was a 
cripple all the days of his life. But to return to the 


desperate rogues in the tree : our men shot at them, but 
did not find they had hit them, or any of them ; but as soon 
as ever they shot at them they could hear them huddle 
down into the trunk of the tree again, and there, to be sure, 
they were safe. 

Well, however, it was this which put by the project of 
William's ladder ; for when it was done, who would venture 
up among such a troop of bold creatures as were there, and 
who, they supposed, were desperate by their circumstances ? 
And as but one man at a time could go up, they began to 
think that it would not do ; and indeed I was of the opinion 
(for about this time I was come to their assistance) that 
going up the ladder would not do, unless it was thus, that a 
man should, as it were, run just up to the top, and throw 
some fire-works into the tree, and come down again ; and 
this we did two or three times, but found no effect from it. 
At last one of our gunners made a stinkpot, as we called it, 
being a composition which only smokes, but does not flame 
or burn ; but withal, the smoke of it is so thick, and the 
smell of it so intolerably nauseous, that it is not to be 
suffered. This he threw into the tree himself, and we 
waited for the effect of it, but heard or saw nothing all that 
night, or the next day ; so we concluded the men within 
were all smothered, when, on a sudden, the next night we 
heard them upon the top of the tree again, shouting and 
hallooing like madmen. 

We concluded, as anybody would, that this was to call 
for help; and we resolved to continue our siege; for we 
were all enraged to see ourselves so baulked by a few wild 
people, whom we thought we had safe in our clutches ; and 
indeed never were there so many concurring circumstances 
to delude men in any case we had met with. We resolved, 
however, to try another stinkpot the next night, and our 


engineer and gunner had got it ready, when hearing a noise 
of the enemy on the top of the tree, and in the body of the 
tree, I was not willing to let the gunner go up the ladder, 
which, I said, would be but to be certain of being murdered 
However, he found a medium for it, and that was to go up 
a few steps, and, with a long pole in his hand, to throw it in 
upon the top of the tree, the ladder being standing all this 
while against the top of the tree ; but when the gunner, 
with his machine at the top of his pole, came to the tree, 
with three other men to help him, behold the ladder was 

This perfectly confounded us; and we now concluded 
the Indians in the tree had by this piece of negligence taken 
the opportunity, and coming all down the ladder, had made 
their escape, and carried away the ladder with them. I 
laughed most heartily at my friend William, who, as I said, 
had the direction of the siege, and had set up a ladder, for 
the garrison, as we called them, to get down upon, and run 
away. But when daylight came we were all set to rights 
again ; for there stood our ladder, hauled up on the top of 
the tree, with about half of it in the hollow of the tree, 
and the other half upright in the air. Then we began to 
laugh at the Indians for fools, that they could not as well 
have found their way down by the ladder, and have made 
their escape, as to have pulled it up by main strength into 
the tree. 

We then resolved upon fire, and, to put an end to the 
work at once, to burn the tree and its inhabitants together ; 
and accordingly we went to work to cut the wood, and in 
a few hours' time we got enough, as we thought, together ; 
and, piling it up round the bottom of the tree, we set it on 
fire, and waited at a distance, to see when the gentlem n 
(whose quarters must soon become too hot for them) would 


come flying out at the top. But we were quite confounded, 
when on a sudden we found the fire all put out by a great 
quantity of water thrown upon it. We then thought the 
devil must be in them, to be sure. Says William, This is 
certainly the cunningest piece of Indian engineering that 
ever was heard of; and there can be but one thing more to 
guess at, besides witchcraft and dealing with the devil, 
which I believe not one word of, says he ; and that must be 
that this is an artificial tree, or a natural tree artificially 
made hollow down into the earth, through root arid all ; 
and that these creatures have an artificial cavity underneath 
it, quite into the hill, or a way to go through, and under the 
hill, to some other place ; and where that other place is, we 
know not ; but if it be not our own fault, I'll find the place, 
and follow them into it, before I am two days older. He 
then called the carpenters, to know of them if they had any 
large saws that would cut through the body ; and they told 
him they had no saws that were long enough, nor could 
men work into such a monstrous old stump for a great 
while ; but that they would go to work with it with their 
axes, and undertake to cut it down in two days, and stub 
up the root of it in two more. But William was for 
another way, which proved much better than all this ; for 
he was for silent work, that, if possible, he might catch 
some of the fellows in it : so he sets twelve men to it 
with large augers, to bore great holes into the side of the 
tree, to go almost through, but not quite through; which 
holes were bored without noise ; and when they were done, 
he filled them all with gunpowder, stopping strong plugs, 
bolted crossways, into the holes, and then boring a slant- 
ing hole, of a less size, down into the greater hole, all 
which were filled with powder, and at once blown up. 
When they took fire they made such a noise, and tore and 


split the tree in so many places, and in such a manner, that 
we could see plainly such another blast would demolish it ; 
and so it did. Thus at the second time we could, at two or 
three places, put our hands in them, and discovered the 
cheat namely, that there was a cave or hole dug in the 
earth, from or through the bottom of the hollow, and that 
it had communication with another cave further in, where 
we heard the voices of several of the wild folks, calling and 
talking to one another. 

When we came thus far we had a great mind to get at 
them ; and William desired that three men might be given 
him with hand-grenadoes ; and he promised to go down 
first ; and boldly he did so ; for William, give him his due, 
had the heart of a lion. 

They had pistols in their hands, and swords by their 
sides ; but, as they had taught the Indians before, by their 
stinkpots, the Indians returned them in their own kind ; for 
they made such a smoke come up out of the entrance into 
the cave or hollow, that William and his three men were 
glad to come running out of the cave, and out of the tree 
too, for mere want of breath ; and indeed they were almost 

Never was a fortification so well defended, or assailants 
so many ways defeated. We were now for giving it over, 
and particularly, I called William, and told him, I could 
not but laugh to see us spinning out our time here for 
nothing ; that I could not imagine what we were doing ; 
that it was certain the rogues that were in it were cunning 
to the last degree, and it would vex anybody to be so 
baulked by a few naked, ignorant fellows ; but still it was 
not worth our while to push it any further ; nor was there 
anything, that I knew of, to be got by the conquest, when 
it was made ; so that I thought it high time to give it over. 


William acknowledged that what I said was just, and that 
there was nothing but our curiosity to be gratified in this 
attempt ; and though, as he said, he was very desirous to 
have searched info the thing, yet he would not insist upon 
it ; so we resolved to quit it, and come away ; which we 
did. However, William said before he went he would have 
this satisfaction of them viz., to burn down the tree, and 
stop up the entrance into the cave. And while he was 
doing this the gunner told him he would have one satisfac- 
tion of the rogues ; and this was, that he would make a 
mine of it, and see which way it had vent Upon this he 
fetched two barrels of powder out of the ships, and placed 
them in the inside of the hollow of the cave, as far in as he 
durst go to carry them, and then filling up the mouth of the 
cave where the tree stood, and ramming it sufficiently hard, 
leaving only a pipe or touchhole, he gave fire to it, and stood 
at a distance, to see which way it would operate, when on a 
sudden he found the force of the powder burst its way out 
among some bushes on the other side of the little hill I 
mentioned, and that it came roaring out there as out of the 
mouth of a cannon ; immediately running thither, we saw 
the effects of the powder. 

First, we saw that there was the other mouti) of the cave, 
which the powder had so torn and opened, that the loose 
earth was so fallen in again, that nothing of shape could be 
discerned ; but there we saw what was become of the gar- 
rison of Indians too, who had given us all this trouble; for 
some of them had no arms, some no legs, some no 
head, some lay half buried in the rubbish of the mine, 
that is to say, in the loose earth that fell in ; and, 
in short, there was a miserable havoc made of them 
all ; for we had good reason to believe, not one of 
them that were in the inside could escape, but rather 


were shot out of the mouth of the cave, like a bullet out 
of a gun. 

We had now our full satisfaction of the Indians ; but, in 
short, this was a losing voyage; for we had two men killed, 
one quite crippled, and five more wounded ; we spent two 
barrels of powder, and eleven days' time, and all to get the 
understanding how to make an Indian mine, or how to keep 
garrison in a hollow tree ; and with this wit, bought at this 
dear price, we came away, having taken in some fresh water, 
but got no fresh provisions. 

We then considered what we should do to get back again 
to Madagascar. We were much about the latitude of the 
Cape of Good Hope, but had such a very long run, 'and 
were neither sure of meeting with fair winds, or with any 
land in the way, that we knew not what to think of it. 
William was our last resort in this case again, and he was 
very plain with us. Friend, says he to Captain Wilmot, 
what occasion hast thou to run the venture of starving, 
merely for the pleasure of saying thou hast been where 
nobody ever was before ? There are a great many places 
nearer home, of which thou mayest say the same thing at a 
less expense. I see no occasion thou hast of keeping thus 
far south any longer than till you are sure you are to the 
west end of Java and Sumatra ; and then thou mayest 
stand away north towards Ceylon, and the coast of Coro- 
mandel and Madras, where thou mayest get both fresh 
water and fresh provisions ; and to that part it is likely we 
may hold out well enough with the stores that we have 

This was wholesome advice, and such as was not to be 
slighted ; so we stood away to the west, keeping between 
the latitude of 31 and 35 degrees, and had very good 
weather and fair winds for about ten days' sail ; by which 


time, by our reckoning, we were clear of the isles, and 
might run away to the north; and, if we did not fall in with 
Ceylon, we should at least go into the great deep bay of 

But we were out in our reckoning a great deal ; for, when 
we had stood due north for about 15 or 16 degrees, we met 
with land again on our starboard bow, about three leagues 
distance ; so we came to an anchor about half a league 
from it, and manned out our boats to see what sort of 
a country it was. We found it a very good one ; fresh water 
easy to come at, but no cattle, that we could see, or 
inhabitants ; and we were very shy of searching too far after 
them, lest we should make such another journey as we did 
last; so that we let rambling alone, and chose rather to 
take what we could find, which was only a few wild mangoes, 
and some plants of several kinds, which we knew not the 
names of. 

We made no stay here, but put to sea again, N.W. by N., 
but had little wind for a fortnight more, when we made land 
again ; and standing in with the shore, we were surprised to 
find ourselves on the south shore of Java ; and just as we 
were coming to an anchor we saw a boat, carrying Dutch 
colours, sailing along shore. We were not solicitous to 
speak with them, or any other of their nation, but left it 
indifferent to our people, when they went on shore, to see 
the Dutchmen, or not to see them ; our business was to get 
provisions, which indeed by this time were very short 
with us. 

We resolved to go on shore with our boats in the most 
convenient place we could find, and to look out a proper 
harbour to bring the ship into, leaving it to our fate, 
whether we should meet with friends or enemies ; re- 
solving, however, not to stay any considerable time, at least 


not long enough to have expresses sent across the island 
to Batavia, and for ships to come round from thence to 
attack us. 

We found, according to our desire, a very good harbour, 
where we rode in seven fathom water, well defended from 
the weather, whatever might happen ; and here we got fresh 
provisions, such as good hogs, and some cows ; and that we 
might lay in a little store, we killed sixteen cows, and pickled 
and barrelled up the flesh as well as we could be supposed 
to do in the latitude of 8 degrees from the line. 


WE did all this in about five days, and filled our casks with 
water ; and the last boat was coming off with herbs and 
roots, we being unmoored, and our foretopsail loose for 
sailing, when we spied a large ship to the northward, bear- 
ing down directly upon us. We knew not what she might 
be, but concluded the worst, and made all possible haste to 
get our anchor up, and get under sail, that we might be in 
readiness to see what she had to say to us, for we were 
under no great concern for one ship ; but our notion was 
that we should be attacked by three or four together. 

By the time we had got up our anchor, and the boat was 
stowed, the ship was within a league of us, and, as we 
thought, bore down to engage us ; so we spread our black 
flag, or ancient, on the poop, and the bloody flag at the top- 
mast head, and having made a clear ship, we stretched away 
to the westward, and got the wind of him. 

They had, it seems, quite mistaken us before, expecting 
nothing of an enemy or a pirate in those seas ; and, not 
doubting but we had been one of their own ships, they 


seemed to be in some confusion when they found their mis- 
take ; so they immediately hauled upon a wind on the other 
tack, and stood edging in for the shore, toward the eastern- 
most part of the island. Upon this we tacked, and stood 
after him with all the sail we could, and in two hours came 
almost within gunshot. Though they crowded all the sail 
they could lay on, there was no remedy but to engage us, 
and they soon saw their inequality of force. We fired a 
gun for them to bring to ; so they manned out their boat, 
and sent to us with a flag of truce. We sent back the boat, 
but with this answer to the captain, that he had nothing to 
do but to strike his colours, and bring his ship under our 
stern, and come on board us himself, when he should know 
our demands ; but that, however, since he had not yet put 
us to the trouble of forcing him, which we saw we were able 
to do, we assured them that the captain should return again 
in safety, and all his men, and that, supplying us with such 
things as we should demand, his ship should not be plun- 
dered. They went back with this message, and it was some 
time after they were on board that they struck, which made 
us begin to think they refused it ; so we fired a shot, and 
in a few minutes more we perceived their boat put off; and 
as soon as the boat put off the ship struck, and came to, as 
was directed. 

When the captain came on board we demanded an 
account of their cargo, which was chiefly bales of goods 
from Bengal for Bantam. We told them our present want 
was provisions, which they had no need of, being just at the 
end of their voyage ; and that, if they would send their 
boat on shore with ours, and procure us six-and-twenty 
head of black cattle, threescore hogs, a quantity of brandy 
and arrack, and three hundred bushels of rice, we would let 
them go free. 


As to the rice, they gave us six hundred bushels, which 
they had actually on board, together with a parcel shipped 
upon freight. Also, they gave us thirty middling casks of 
very good arrack, but beef and pork they had none. How- 
ever, they went on shore with our men, and bought eleven 
bullocks and fifty hogs, which were pickled up for our 
occasion ; and upon the supplies of provision being delivered, 
we dismissed them and their ship. 

We lay here seven days before we could furnish ourselves 
with the provisions agreed for, and some of the men fancied 
the Dutchmen were contriving our destruction ; but they 
were very honest, and did what they could to furnish the 
black cattle, but found it impossible to supply so many. So 
they came and told us ingenuously that unless we could stay 
a while longer they could get no more oxen or cows than 
those eleven, with which we were obliged to be satisfied, 
taking the value of them in other things rather than stay 
longer there. On our side we were punctual with them in 
observing the conditions we had agreed on ; nor would we 
let any of our men so much as go on board them, or suffer 
any of their men to come on board us ; for, had any of our 
men gone on board, nobody could have answered for their 
behaviour any more than if they had been on shore in an 
enemy's country. 

We were now victualled for our voyage ; and as we 
cared not for purchase, we went merrily on for the coast of 
Ceylon, where we intended to touch, to get fresh water 
again, and more provisions ; and we had nothing material 
offered in this part of the voyage, only that we met 
with contrary winds, and were above a month in the 

We put in upon the south coast of the island, desiring to 
have as little to do with the Dutch as we could ; and as the 


Dutch were lords of the country as to commerce, so they 
are more so of the sea-coast, where they have several forts, 
and, in particular, have all the cinnamon, which is the trade 
of that island. 

We took in fresh water here and some provisions, but 
did not much trouble ourselves about laying in any stores, 
our beef and hogs, which we got at Java, being not yet all 
gone by a good deal. We had a small skirmish on shore 
here with some of the people of the island, some of our men 
having been a little too familiar with the homely ladies of 
the country ; for homely indeed they were to such a degree, 
that if our men had not had good stomachs that way, they 
would scarce have touched any of them. 

I could never fully get it out of our men what they did, 
they were so true to one another in their wickedness ; but 
I understood in the main that it was some barbarous thing 
they had done, and that they had like to have paid dear for 
it ; for the men resented it to the last degree, and gathered 
in such numbers about them, that, had not sixteen more of 
our men, in another boat, gone all in the nick of time, just 
to rescue our first men, who were but eleven, and so fetch 
them off by main force, they had been all cut off, the in- 
habitants being no less than two or three hundred, armed 
with darts and lances, the usual weapons of the country, 
and which they are very dexterous at throwing, even so 
dexterous that it was scarce credible ; and had our men 
stood to fight them, as some of them were bold enough to 
talk of, they had all been overwhelmed and killed. As it 
was, seventeen of our men were wounded, and some of them 
very dangerously. But they were more frightened than 
hurt, too ; for every one of them gave themselves over for 
dead men, believing the lances were poisoned. But William 
was our comfort here too ; for, when two of our surgeons 


were of the same opinion, and told the men foolishly enough 
that they would die, William cheerfully went to work with 
them, and cured them all but one, who rather died by 
drinking some arrack punch than of his wound, the excess 
of drinking throwing him into a fever. 

We had enough of Ceylon, though some of our people 
were for going ashore again, sixty or seventy men together, 
to be revenged ; but William persuaded them against it ; 
and his reputation was so great among the men, as well as 
with us that were commanders, that he could influence them 
more than any of us. 

They were mighty warm upon the revenge, and would go 
on shore and destroy five hundred of them. Well, says 
William, and suppose you do, what are you the better ? 
Why, then, says one of them, speaking for the rest, we shall 
have our satisfaction. Well, and what will you be the 
better for that? says William. They could then say 
nothing to that. Then, says William, if I mistake not, 
your business is money : now, I desire to know, if you con- 
quer and kill two or three thousand of these poor creatures, 
they have no money, pray what will you get 1 They are 
poor naked wretches, what shall you gain by them ? But 
then, said William, perhaps in doing this you may chance 
to lose half-a-score of your own company, as it is very prob- 
able you may. Pray, what gain is in it ? and what account 
can you give the company for the lost men 1 In short, 
William argued so effectually that he convinced them that 
it was mere murder to do so, and that the men had a right 
to their own, and that they had no right to take them 
away ; that it was destroying innocent men, who had acted 
no otherwise than as the laws of nature dictated ; and that 
it would be as much murder to do so as to meet a man on 
the highway, and kill him, for the mere sake of it, in cool 


blood, not regarding whether he had done any wrong to us 
or no. 

These reasons prevailed with them at last, and they were 
content to go away, and leave them as they found them. 
In the first skirmish they killed between sixty and seventy 
men, and wounded a great many more; but they had 
nothing, and our people got nothing by it but the loss of 
one man's life, and the wounding sixteen more, as above. 

But another accident brought us to a necessity of farther 
business with these people, and indeed we had like to have 
put an end to our lives and adventures all at once among 
them ; for, about three days after our putting out to sea, 
from the place where we had that skirmish, we were 
attacked by a violent storm of wind from the south, or 
rather a hurricane of wind from all the points southward, 
for it blew in a most desperate and furious manner from 
the S.E. to the S.W., one minute at one point, and then 
instantly turning about again to another point, but with 
the same violence ; nor were we able to work the ship in 
that condition ; so that the ship I was in split three top- 
sails, and at last brought the main topmast by the board ; 
and, in a word, we were once or twice driven right ashore ; 
and one time, had not the wind shifted the very moment it 
did, we had been dashed in a thousand pieces upon a great 
ledge of rocks which lay off about half a league from the 
shore ; but, as I have said, the wind shifting very often, 
and at that time coming to the E.S.E., we stretched off, and 
got above a league more sea-room in half-an-hour. After 
that it blew with some fury S.W. by S., then S.W. by W., 
and put us back again a great way to the eastward of the 
ledge of rocks, where we found a great opening between the 
rocks and the land, and endeavoured to come to an anchor 
there ; but we found there was no ground fit to anchor in, 


there being nothing but rocks. We stood through the 
opening, which held about four leagues. The storm con- 
tinued, and now we found a dreadful foul shore, and knew 
not what course to take. We looked out very narrowly 
for some river, or creek, or bay, where we might run in and 
come to an anchor, but found none a great while. At 
length we saw a great headland lie out far south into the 
sea, and that to such a length, that, in short, we saw 
plainly, that, if the wind held where it was, we could not 
weather it ; so we run in as much under the lee of the 
point as we could, and came to an anchor in about twelve 
fathom water. 

But the wind veering again in the night, and blowing 
exceedingly hard, our anchors came home, and the ship 
drove till the rudder struck against the ground ; and, had 
the ship gone half her length farther, she had been lost, and 
every one of us with her. But our sheet-anchor held its 
own, and we heaved in some of the cable to get clear of the 
ground we had struck upon. It was by this only cable 
that we rode it out all night ; and towards morning we 
thought the wind abated a little ; and it was well for us 
that it was so ; for, in spite of what our sheet-anchor did 
for us, we found the ship fast aground in the morning, to 
our very great surprise and amazement. 

When the tide was out, though the water here ebbed 
away, the ship lay almost dry upon a bank of hard sand, 
which never, I suppose, had any ship upon it before. The 
people of the country came down in great numbers to look 
at us and gaze, not knowing what we were, but gaping at 
us as at a great sight or wonder, at which they were 
surprised, and knew not what to do. 

I have reason to believe that, upon the sight, they 
immediately sent an account of a ship being there, and of 


the condition we were in ; for the next day there appeared 
a great man, whether it was their king or no, I know not ; 
but he had abundance of men with him, and some with long 
javelins in their hands, as long as half-pikes, and these 
came all down to the water's edge, and drew up in a vei'y 
good order, just in our view. They stood near an hour 
without making any motion ; and then there came near 
twenty of them with a man before them, carrying a white 
flag before them. They came forward into the water as 
high as their waists, the sea not going so high as before, for 
the wind was abroad and blew off shore. 

The man made a long oration to us, as we could see by 
his gestures ; and we sometimes heard his voice, but knew 
not one word he said. William, who was always useful to 
us, I believe was here again the saving of all our lives. 
The case was this. The fellow, or what I might call him, 
when his speech was done, gave three great screams (for I 
know not what else to say they were), then lowered his 
white flag three times, and then made three motions to us 
with his arm to come to him. 

I acknowledge that I was for manning out the boat and 
going to them, but William would by no means allow me: he 
told me we ought to trust nobody ; that if they were bar- 
barians, and under their own government, we might be sure 
to be all murdered ; and if they were Christians we should 
not fare much better, if they knew who we were ; that it 
was the custom of the Malabars to betray all people that 
they could get into their hands ; and that these were some of 
the same people ; and that, if we had any regard to our own 
safety, we should not go to them by any means. I opposed 
him a great while, and told him I thought he used to be always 
right, but that now I thought he was not ; that I was no 
more for running needless risks than he or any one else ; but 


I thought all nations in the world, even the most savage 
people, when they held out a flag of peace, kept the offer of 
peace made by that signal very sacredly ; and I gave him 
several examples of it in the history of my African travels, 
which I have here gone through in the beginning of this 
work ; and that I could not think these people worse than 
some of them. And besides, I told him, our case seemed 
to be such that we must fall into somebody's hands or 
other, and that we had better fall into their hands by a 
friendly treaty than by a forced submission ; nay, though 
indeed they had a treacherous design ; and therefore I was 
for a parley with them. 

Well, friend, says William, very gravely, if thou wilt go, 
I cannot help it ; I shall only desire to take my last leave of 
thee at parting, for, depend upon it, thou wilt never see us 
again. Whether we in the ship may come off any better 
at last I cannot resolve thee ; but this I will answer for, 
that we will not give up our lives idly, and in cool blood, 
as thou art going to do ; we will at least preserve ourselves 
as long as we can, and die at last like men, not like fools, 
trepanned by the wiles of a few barbarians. 

William spoke this with so much warmth, and yet with 
so much assurance of our fate, that I began to think a little 
of the risk I was going to run. I had no more mind to be 
murdered than he ; and yet I could not for my life be so 
faint-hearted in the thing as he. Upon which, I asked 
him if he had any knowledge of the place, or had ever 
been there. He said, No. Then I asked him if he had 
heard or read anything about the people of this island, and 
of their way of treating any Christians that had fallen 
into their hands ; and he told me he had heard of one, and 
he would tell me the story afterward. His name, he said, 
was Knox, commander of an East India ship, who was 


driven on shore, just as we were, upon this island of 
Ceylon, though he could not say it was at the same place, 
or whereabouts : that he was beguiled by the barbarians, 
and enticed to come on shore, just as we were invited to do 
at that time ; and that, when they had him, they sur- 
rounded him and eighteen or twenty of his men, and never 
suffered them to return, but kept them prisoners, or 
murdered them, he could not tell which ; but they were 
carried away up in the country, separated from one another, 
and never heard of afterwards, except the captain's son, who 
miraculously made his escape, after twenty years' slavery. 

I had no time then to ask him to give the full story of 
this Knox, much less to hear him tell it me ; but as it is 
usual in such cases, when one begins to be a little touched, 
I turned short with him. Why then, friend William, said 
I, what would you have us do ? You see what condition 
we are in, and what is before us ; something must be done, 
and that immediately. Why, says William, I'll tell thee 
what thou shouldst do : first cause a white flag to be hung 
out, as they do to us, and man out the long-boat and 
pinnace with as many men as they can well stow, to handle 
their arms, and let me go with them, and thou shalt see 
what we will do. If I miscarry, thou rnayest be safe ; and 
I will also tell thee, that if I do miscarry, it shall be my 
own fault, and thou shalt learn wit by my folly. 

I knew not what to reply to him at first ; but, after some 
pause, I said, William, William, I am as loath you should 
be lost as you are that I should ; and if there be any 
danger, I desire you may no more fall into it than I. There- 
fore, if you will, let us all keep in the ship, fare alike, and 
take our fate together. 

No, no, says William, there's no danger in the method I 
propose; thou shalt go with me, if thou thinkest fit. If 


thou pleasest but to follow the measures that I shall resolve 
on, depend upon it, though we will go off from the ships, 
we will not a man of us go any nearer them than within 
call, to talk with them. Thou seest they have no boats to 
come off to us ; but, says he, I rather desire thou wouldst 
take my advice, and manage the ships as I shall give the 
signal from the boat, and let us concert that matter 
together before we go off. 

Well, I found William had his measures in his head all 
laid beforehand, and was not at a loss what to do at all ; so 
I told him he should be captain for this voyage, and we 
would be all of us under his orders, which I would see 
observed to a tittle. 

Upon this conclusion of our debates he ordered four-and- 
twenty men into the long-boat, and twelve men into the 
pinnace, and the sea being now pretty smooth, they went off, 
being all very well armed. Also he ordered, that all the 
guns of the great ship, on the side which lay next the shore, 
should be loaded with musket-balls, old nails, stubs, and 
such like pieces of old iron, lead, and anything that came to 
hand ; and that we should prepare to fire as soon as ever we 
saw them lower the white flag and hoist up a red one in the 

With these measures fixed between us, they went off 
towards the shore, William in the pinnace with twelve men, 
and the long-boat coming after him with four-and-twenty 
more, all stout, resolute fellows, and very well armed. They 
rowed so near the shore, as that they might speak to one 
another, carrying a white flag, as the other did, and offering 
a parley. The brutes, for such they were, showed them- 
selves very courteous ; but, finding we could not understand 
them, they fetched an old Dutchman, who had been thoir 
prisoner many years, and set him to speak to us. The sum 


and substance of his speech was that the king of the 
country had sent his general down to know who we were, 
and what our business was. William stood up in the stern 
of the pinnace, and told him that as to that, he, that was 
an European, by his language and voice, might easily know 
what we were, and our condition : the ship being aground 
upon the sand would also tell him that our business there 
was that of a ship in distress ; so William desired to know 
what they came down for with such a multitude, and with 
arms and weapons, as if they came to war with us. 

He answered, they might have good reason to come down 
to the shore, the country being alarmed with the appearance 
of ships of strangers upon the coast ; and as our vessels were 
full of men, who had guns and weapons, the king had sent 
part of his military men, that, in case of any invasion upon 
the country, they might be ready to defend themselves, 
whatsoever might be the occasion. 

But, says he, as you are men in distress, the king has 
ordered his general, who is here also, to give you all the 
assistance he can, and to invite you on shore, and receive 
you with all possible courtesy. Says William, very quick 
upon him, Before I give thee an answer to that, I desire 
thee to tell me what thou art ; for by thy speech thou art 
an European. He answered presently, he was a Dutchman. 
That I know well, says William, by thy speech; but art 
thou a native Dutchman of Holland, or a native of this 
country, that has learned Dutch by conversing among 
the Hollanders, who we know are settled upon this 
island ? 

No, says the old man, I am a native of Delft, in the 
province of Holland, in Europe. 

Well, says William, immediately, but art thou a 
Christian or a heathen, or what we call a renegado? 


I am, says he, a Christian. And so they went on, in a 
short dialogue, as follows : 

Will. Thou art a Dutchman, and a Christian, thou 
sayest ; pray, art thou a freeman or a servant 1 

Dutchm. I am a servant to the king here, and in his 

Will. But art thou a volunteer, or a prisoner 1 

Dutchm. Indeed I was a prisoner at first, but am at 
liberty now, and so am a volunteer. 

Will. That is to say, being first a prisoner, thou hast 
liberty to serve them ; but art thou so at liberty, that thou 
mayest go away, if thou pleasest, to thine own countrymen ? 

Dutchm. No, I do not say so : my countrymen live a 
great way off, on the north and east parts of the island, and 
there is no going to them without the king's express 

Will. Well, and why doest not thou get a license to go 
away ? 

Dutchm. I have never asked for it. 

Will. And, I suppose, if thou didst, thou knowest thou 
couldst not obtain it. 

Dutchm. I cannot say much as to that ; but why do you 
ask me all these questions. 

Will. Why, my reason is good : if thou art a Christian 
and a prisoner, how canst thou consent to be made an 
instrument to these barbarians, to betray us into their 
hands, who are thy countrymen and fellow-Christians 1 Is 
it not a barbarous thing in thee to do so 1 

Dutchm. How do I go about to betray you ? Do I not 
j;ivc you an account how the king invites you to come on 
shore, and has ordered you to be treated courteously, and 
assisted ? 


Will. As thou art a Christian, though I doubt it much, 
dost thou believe the king, or the general, as thou callest 
him, means one word of what he says ? 

Dutchm. He promises you by the mouth of his great 

Will. I don't ask thee what he promises, or by whom ; 
but I ask thee this : Canst thou say that thou believest 
he intends to perform it ? 

Dutchm. How can I answer that ? How can I tell what 
he intends 1 

Will. Thou canst tell what thou believest. 

Dutchm. I cannot say but he will perform it ; I believe 
he may. 

Will. Thou art but a double-tongued Christian, I doubt. 
Come, I'll ask thee another question : Wilt thou say that 
thou believest it, and that thou wouldst advise me to 
believe it, and put our lives into their hands upon these 
promises 1 

Dutchm. I am not to be your adviser. 

Will. Thou art perhaps afraid to speak thy mind, because 
thou art in their power. Pray, do any of them understand 
what thou and I say ? Can they speak Dutch 1 

Dutchm. ISTo, not one of them : I have no apprehensions 
upon that account at all. 

Will. Why then, answer me plainly, if thou art a 
Christian : Is it safe for us to venture, upon their words, to 
put ourselves into their hands, and come on shore ? 

Dutchm. You put it very home to me. Pray, let me ask 
you another question : Are you in any likelihood of getting 
your ship off, if you refuse it ? 

Will. Yes, yes, we shall get off the ship ; now the storm 
is over, we don't fear it. 

Dutchm. Then I cannot say it is best for you to trust them. 


Will. Well, it is honestly said. 

Dutchm. But what shall I say to them ? 

Will. Give them good words, as they give us. 

Dutchm. What good words 1 

Will. Why, let them tell the king that we are strangers, 
who were driven on the coast by a great storm ; that we 
thank him very kindly for his offer of civility to us, which, 
if we are farther distressed, we will accept thankfully ; but 
that at present we have no occasion to come on shore ; and 
besides, that we cannot safely leave the ship in the present 
condition she is in ; but that we are obliged to take care of 
her, in order to get her off, and expect, in a tide or two 
more, to get her quite clear, and at an anchor. 

Dutchm. But he will expect you to come on shore, then, 
to visit him, and make him some present for his civility. 

Will. When we have got our ship clear, and stopped the 
leaks, we will pay our respects to him. 

Dutchm. Nay, you may as well come to him now as then. 

Will. Nay, hold, friend ; I did not say we would come to 
him then : you talked of making him a present ; that is to 
pay our respects to him ; is it not ? 

Dutchm. Well, but I will tell him that you will come on 
shore to him when your ship is got off. 

Will. I have nothing to say to that ; you may tell him 
what you think fit. 

Dutchm. But he will be in a great rage if I do not. 

Will. Who will he be in a rage at 1 

Dutchm. At you. 

Will. What occasion have we to value that 1 

Dutchm. Why, he will send all his army down against 

Will. And what if they were all here just now ? What 
dost thou suppose they could do to us 1 


Dutchm. He would expect they should burn your ships, 
and bring you all to hirn. 

Will. Tell him, if he should try, he may catch a Tartar. 

Dutchm. He has a world of men. 

Will. Has he any ships 1 

Dutchm. No, he has no ships. 

Will. Nor boats 1 

Dutchm. No, nor boats. 

Will. Why, what then do you think we care for his 
men 1 What canst thou do now to us, if thou hadst a 
hundred thousand with thee It 

Dutchm. O ! they might set you on fire. 

Will. Set us a-firing, thou meanest : that they might 
indeed ; but set us on fire they shall not ; they might try s 
at their peril, and we shall make mad work with your 
hundred thousand men, if they come within reach of our 
guns, I assure thee. 

Dutchm. But what if the king gives you hostages for 
your safety 1 

Will. Whom can he give but mere slaves and servants 
like thyself, whose lives he no more values than we an 
English hound 1 

Dutchm. Whom do you demand for hostages ? 

Will. Himself and your worship. 

Dutchm. What would you do with him ? 

Will. Do with him as he would do with us, cut his 
head off. 

Dutchm. And what would you do to me 1 

Will. Do with thee ? We would carry thee home 
into thine own country ; and, though thou deservest the 
gallows, we would make a man and a Christian of thee 
again, and not do by thee as thou wouldst have done 
by us betray thee to a parcel of merciless, savage 


pagans, that know no God, nor how to show mercy to 

Dutchm. You put a thought in my head that I will 
speak to you about to-morrow. 


THUS they went away, and William came on board, and 
gave us a full account of his parley with the old Dutchman, 
which was very diverting, and to me instructing ; for I had 
abundance of reason to acknowledge William had made a 
better judgment of things than I. 

It was our good fortune to get our ship off that very 
night, and to bring her to an anchor at about a mile and 
a-half further out, and in deep water, to our great satisfac- 
tion ; so that we had no need to fear the Dutchman's king, 
with his hundred thousand men ; and indeed we had some 
sport with them the next day, when they came down, a vast 
prodigious multitude of them, very few less in number, in 
our imagination, than a hundred thousand, with some 
elephants ; though if it had been an army of elephants, 
they could have done us no harm ; for we were fairly at our 
anchor now, and out of their reach ; and indeed we thought 
ourselves more out of their reach than we really were ; and 
it was ten thousand to one that we had not been fast 
aground again ; for the wind blowing off shore, though it 
made the water smooth where we lay, yet it blew the ebb 
farther out than usual, and we could easily perceive the 
sand, which we touched upon before, lay in the shape of a 
half moon, and surrounded us with two horns of it ; so that 
we lay in the middle or centre of it, as in a round bay, safe 


just as we were, and in deep water, but present death, as it 
were, on the right hand and on the left ; for the two horns, 
or points of the sand, reached out beyond where our ship 
lay near two miles. 

On that part of the sand which lay on our east side, this 
misguided multitude extended themselves ; and, being most 
of them not above their knees, or most of them not above 
ankle-deep in the water, they, as it were, surrounded us on 
that side, and on the side of the mainland, and a little way 
on the other side of the sand, standing in a half circle, or 
rather three-fifths of a circle, for about six miles in length ; 
the other horn, or point of the sand, which lay on our west 
side, being not quite so shallow, they could not extend 
themselves upon it so far. 

They little thought what service they had done us, and 
how unwillingly, and by the greatest ignorance, they had 
made themselves pilots to us, while we, having not sounded 
the place, might have been lost before we were aware. It 
is true, we might have sounded our new harbour before we 
had ventured out ; but I cannot say, for certain, whether 
we should or not ; for I, for my part, had not the least 
suspicion of what our real case was ; however, I say, per- 
haps, before we had weighed, we should have looked about 
us a little. I am sure we ought to have done it ; for, 
besides these armies of human furies, we had a very leaky 
ship, and all our pumps could hardly keep the water from 
growing upon us, and our carpenters were overboard, 
working to find out and stop the wounds we had received, 
heeling her first on one side and then on the other ; and it 
was very diverting to see how, when our men heeled the 
ship over to the side next the wild army that stood on the 
east horn of the sand, they were so amazed, between fright 
and joy, that it put them into a kind of confusion, calling 


to one another, hallooing and shrieking in a manner that it 
is impossible to describe. 

While we were doing this, for we were in a great hurry, 
you may be sure, and all hands at work, as well at the 
stopping our leaks as repairing our rigging and sails, which 
had received a great deal of damage, and also in rigging 
a new maintop-mast, and the like ; I say, while we were 
doing all this, we perceived a body of men, of near a 
thousand, move from that part of the army of the barbar- 
ians that lay at the bottom of the sandy bay, and come all 
along the water's edge, round the sand, till they stood just 
on our broadside east, and were within about half a mile of 
us. Then we saw the Dutchman come forward nearer to 
us, and all alone, with his white flag and all his motions, 
just as before, and there he stood. 

Our men had just brought the ship to rights again as 
they came up to our broadside, and we had very happily 
found out and stopped the worst and most dangerous leak 
that we had, to our very great satisfaction ; so I ordered 
the boats to t>e hauled up and manned as they were the day 
before, and William to go as plenipotentiary. I would 
have gone myself, if I had understood Dutch ; but as I did 
not, it was to no purpose, for I should be able to know 
nothing of what was said, but from him at second-hand, 
which might be done as well afterwards. All the instruc- 
tions I pretended to give William was, if possible, to get 
the old Dutchman away, and, if he could, to make him 
come on board. 

Well, William went just as before ; and when he came 
within about sixty or seventy yards of the shore, he held 
up his white flag, as the Dutchman did, and, turning the 
boat's broadside to the shore, and his men lying upon their 
oars, the parley, or dialogue, began again thus : 


Will. Well, friend, what dost thou say to us now ? 

Dutchm. I came of the same mild errand as I did 

Will. What, dost thou pretend to come of a mild errand, 
with all these people at thy back, and all the foolish 
weapons of war they bring with them 1 Prithee, what dost 
thou mean 1 

Dutchm. The king hastens us to invite the captain and 
all his men to come on shore, and has ordered all his men 
to show them all the civility they can. 

Will. Well, and are those men come to invite us ashore ? 

Dutchm. They will do you no hurt, if you will come on 
shore peaceably. 

Will. Well, and what dost thou think they can do 
to us, if we will not ? 

Dutchm. I would not have them do you any hurt then 

Will. But prithee, friend, do not make thyself fool and 
knave too : dost not thou know that we are out of fear of 
all thy army, and out of danger of all that they can do ? 
What makes thee act so simply as well as so knavishly 1 

Dutchm. Why, you may think yourselves safer than you 
are : you do not know what they may do to you. I can 
assure you they are able to do you a great deal of harm, 
and perhaps burn your ship. 

Will. Suppose that were true, as I am sure it is false, 
you see we have more ships to carry us off (pointing to the 

Dutchm. We do not value that, if you had ten ships, you 

* N.B.-r-Just at this time we discovered the sloop standing towards 
us from the east, along the shore, at about the distance of two leagues, 
which was to our particular satisfaction, she having been missing 
thirteen days. 


dare not come on shore with all the men you have, in 
a hostile way ; we are too many for you. 

Will. Thou dost not even in that speak as thou meanest ; 
and we may give thee a trial of our hands, when our friends 
come up to us ; for thou nearest they have discovered us.* 

Dutchm. Yes, I hear they fire, but I hope your ship will 
not fire again ; for, if they do, our general will take it for 
breaking the truce, and will make the army let fly a shower 
of arrows at you in the boat. 

Will. Thou mayest be sure the ship will fire, that the 
other ship may hear them, but not with ball. If thy 
general knows no better, he may begin when he will ; but 
thou mayest be sure we will return it to his cost. 

Dutchm. What must I do then 1 

Will. Do ! why go to him, and tell him of it beforehand 
then ; and let him know, that the ship firing is not at him, 
nor his men; and then come again and tell us what he 

Dutchm. No, I will send to him, which will do as well. 

Witt. Do as thou wilt ; but I believe thou hadst better 
go thyself ; for, if our men fire first, I suppose he will be in 
a great wrath, and, it may be, at thee ; for, as for his wrath 
at us, we tell thee beforehand we value it not. 

Dutchm. You slight them too much ; you know not what 
they may do. 

Will. Thou makest as if those poor savage wretches could 
do mighty things ; prithee let us see what you can all do, we 
value it not ; thou mayest set down thy flag of truce when 
thou pleasest, and begin. 

Dutchm. I had rather make a truce, and have you all 
part friends. 

* Just then the sloop fired five guns, which was to get news of us, 
for they did not see us. 


Will. Thou art a deceitful rogue thyself ; for it is plain 
thou knowest these people would only persuade us on shore, 
to entrap and surprise us ; and yet thou that art a Christian, 
as thou callest thyself, wouldst have us come on shore, and 
put our lives into their hands, who know nothing that 
belongs to compassion, good usage, or good manners ; how 
canst thou be such a villain ? 

Dutchm. How can you call me so ? What have I done 
to you, and what would you have me do ? 

Will. Not act like a traitor, but like one that was once a 
Christian, and would have been so still if you had not been 
a Dutchman. 

Dutchm. I know not what to do, not I ; I wish I were 
from them ; they are a bloody people. 

Will. Prithee make no difficulty of what thou shouldest 
do ; canst thou swim 1 

Dutchm. Yes, I can swim ; but if I should attempt to 
swim off to you, I should have a thousand arrows and 
javelins sticking in me before I should get to your boat. 

Will. I'll bring the boat close to thee, and take thee on 
board in spite of them all. We will give them but one 
volley, and I'll engage they will all run away from thee. 

Dutchm. You are mistaken in them, I assure you ; they 
would immediately come all running down to the shore, and 
shoot fire-arrows at you, and set your boat and ship and all 
on fire about your ears. 

Will. We will venture that if thou wilt come off. 

Dutchm. Will you use me honourably when I am among 
you ? 

Will. I'll give thee my word for it, if thou provest 

Dutchm. Will you not make me a prisoner 1 

WiU. I will be thy surety, body for body, that thou shalt 



be a freeman, and go whither thou wilt, though I own to 
thee thou dost not deserve it. 

Just at this time our ship fired three guns to answer the 
sloop, and let her know we saw her, who immediately, we 
perceived, understood it, and stood directly for the place ; 
but it is impossible to express the confusion and filthy vile 
noise, the hurry and universal disorder that was among that 
vast multitude of people upon our firing off three guns. 
They immediately all repaired to their arms, as I may call 
it ; for to say they put themselves into order would be 
saying nothing. 

Upon the word of command, then, they advanced all in a 
body to the seaside, and resolving to give us one volley of 
their firearms (for such they were), immediately they saluted 
us with a hundred thousand of their arrows, every one 
carrying a little bag of cloth dipped in brimstone, or some 
such thing ; which, flying through the air, had nothing to 
hinder it taking fire as it flew ; and it generally did so. 

I cannot say but this method of attacking us by a way we 
had no notion of might give us at first some little surprise ; 
for the number was so great at first that we were not 
altogether without apprehensions that they might unluckily 
set our ship on fire ; so that William resolved immediately 
to row on board, and persuade us all to weigh, and stand 
out to sea ; but there was no time for it ; for they imme- 
diately let fly a volley at the boat, and at the ship, from all 
the parts of the vast crowd of people which stood near the 

Nor did they fire, as I may call it, all at once, and so 
leave off; but their arrows being soon notched upon their 
bows, they kept continually shooting, so that the air was 
full of flame. 


I could not say whether they set their cotton rag on fire 
before they shot the arrow ; for I did not perceive they 
had fire with them, which, however, it seems they had. The 
arrow, besides the fire it carried with it, had a head, or a 
peg, as we call it, of a bone, and some of sharp flint stone ; 
and some few of a metal, too soft in itself for metal, but 
hard enough to cause it to enter, if it were a plank, so as 
to stick where it fell. 

William and his men had notice sufiicient to lie close 
behind their waste-boards, which, for this very purpose, they 
had made so high, that they could easily sink themselves 
behind them, so as to defend themselves from anything 
that came point-blank (as we call it), or upon a line ; but 
for what might fall perpendicularly out of the air, they had 
no guard, but took the hazard of that. At first they made 
as if they would row away, but before they went they 
gave a volley of their small arms, firing at those which 
stood with the Dutchman ; but William ordered them to 
be sure to take their aim at others, so as to miss him, and 
they did so. 

There was no calling to them now, for the noise was so 
great among them that they could hear nobody ; but our 
men boldly rowed in nearer to them, for they were at first 
driven a little off, and when they came nearer they fired a 
second volley, which put the fellows into great confusion, 
and we could see from the ship that several of them were 
killed or wounded. 

We thought this was a very unequal fight, and therefore 
we made a signal to our men to row away, that we might 
have a little of the sport as well as they ; but the arrows 
flew so thick upon them, being so near the shore, that they 
could not sit to their oars, so they spread a little of their 
sail, thinking they might sail along the shore, and lie 


behind their waste-boards ; but the sail had not been spread 
six minutes till it had five hundred fire-arrows shot into it 
and through it, and at length set it fairly on fire ; nor were 
our men quite out of the danger of its setting the boat 
on fire, and this made them paddle and shove the boat 
away as well as they could, as they lay, to get farther off. 

By this time they had left us a fair mark at the whole 
savage army ; and as we had sheered the ship as near to 
them as we could, we fired among the thickest of them six 
or seven times, five guns at a time, with shot, old iron, 
musket bullets, etc. 

We could easily see that we made havoc of them, and 
killed and wounded abundance of them, and that they 
were in a great surprise at it ; but yet they never offered 
to stir, and all this while their fire-arrows flew as thick as 

At last on a sudden their arrows stopped, and the old 
Dutchman came running down to the water side all 
alone, with his white flag, as before, waving it as high as 
he could, and making signals to our boat to come to him 

William did not care at first to go near him, but the 
man continuing to make signals to him to come, at last 
William went ; and the Dutchman told him that he had 
been with the general, who was much mollified by the 
slaughter of his men, and that now he could have anything 
of him. 

Anything 1 says William ; what have we to do with him ? 
Let him go about his business, and carry his men out of 
gun-shot ; can't he ? 

Why, says the Dutchman, but he dares not stir, nor see 
the king's face ; unless some of your men came on shore, he 
will certainly put him to death. 


Why, then, says William, he is a dead man ; for if it 
were to save his life, and the lives of all the crowd that is 
with him, he shall never have one of us in his power. 

But I'll tell thee, said William, how thou shalt cheat 
him, and gain thy own liberty too, if thou hast any mind 
to see thy own country again, and art not turned savage, 
and grown fond of living all thy days among heathens and 

I would be glad to do it with all my heart, says he ; but 
if I should offer to swim off to you now, though they are so 
far from me, they shoot so true that they would kill me 
before I got half way. 

But, says William, I'll tell thee how thou shalt come with 
his consent. Go to him, and tell him I have offered to 
carry you on board, to try if you could persuade the captain 
to come on shore, and that I would not hinder him if he 
was willing to venture. 

The Dutchman seemed in a rapture at the very first word. 
I'll do it, says he ; I am persuaded he will give me leave to 

Away he runs, as if he had a glad message to carry, and 
tells the general that William had promised, if he would go 
on board the ship with him, he would persuade the captain 
to return with him. The general was fool enough to give 
him orders to go, and charged him not to come back without 
the captain ; which he readily promised, and very honestly 

So they took him in, and brought him on board ; and he 
was as good as his word to them ; for he never went back 
any more ; and the sloop being come to the mouth of the 
inlet where we lay, we weighed, and set sail ; but, as we 
went out, being pretty near the shore, we fired three guns, 
as it were among them, but without any shot ; for it was of 


no use to us to hurt any more of them. After we had fired 
we gave them a cheer, as the seamen call it ; that is to say, 
we hallooed at them, by way of triumph, and so carried off 
their ambassador. How it fared with the general, we know 
nothing of that. 

This passage, when I related it to a friend of mine, after 
my return from those rambles, agreed so well with his 
relation of what happened to one Mr. Knox, an English 
captain, who some time ago was decoyed on shore by those 
people, that it could not be very much to my satisfaction to 
think what mischief we had all escaped ; and I think it 
cannot but be very profitable to record the other story 
(which is but short) with my own, to show whoever reads 
this what it was I avoided, and prevent their falling into 
the like, if they have to do with the perfidious people of 
Ceylon. The relation is as follows : 

The island of Ceylon being inhabited for the greatest 
part by barbarians, which will not allow any trade or 
commerce with any European nation, and inaccessible by 
any travellers, it will be convenient to relate the occasion 
how the author of this story happened to go into this 
island, and what opportunities he had of being fully 
acquainted with the people, their laws and customs, that so 
we may the better depend upon the account, and value it, 
as it deserves, for the rarity as well as the truth of it ; and 
both these the author gives us a brief relation of in this 
manner. His words are as follows : * 

In the year 1657 the Anne, frigate, of London, Captain 
Robert Knox commander, on the 21st day of January, set 
sail out of the Downs, in the service of the honourable the 

* Knox's own account, from which this is taken, published 1681, ia 
reprinted in Professor Arber's English Garner, vol. i. 


East India Company of England, bound for Fort St. George, 
upon the coast of Coromandel, to trade for one year from 
port to port in India ; which having performed, as he was 
lading his goods to return to England, being in the road of 
Matlipatam, on the 19th of November 1659 there happened 
such a mighty storm, that in it several ships were cast away, 
and he was forced to cut his mainmast by the board, which 
so disabled the ship, that he could not proceed in his voy- 
age ; whereupon Cotiar,* in the island of Ceylon, being a 
very commodious bay, fit for her present distress, Thomas 
Chambers, Esquire, since Sir Thomas Chambers, the agent 
at Fort St. George, ordered that the ship should take in 
some cloth and Indian merchants belonging to Porta Nova, 
who might trade there while she lay to set her mast, and 
repair the other damages sustained by the storm. At her 
first coining thither, after the Indian merchants were set 
on shore, the captain and his men were very jealous of the 
people of that place, by reason the English never had any 
commerce or dealing with them ; but after they had been 
there twenty days, going ashore and returning again at 
pleasure, without any molestation, they began to lay aside 
all suspicious thoughts of the people that dwelt thereabouts, 
who had kindly entertained them for their money. 

By this time the king of the country had notice of their 
arrival, and, not being acquainted with their intents, he 
sent down a dissuava, or general, with an army to them, 
who immediately sent a messenger to the captain on board, 
to desire him to come ashore to him, pretending a letter 
from the king. The captain saluted the message with firing 
of guns, and ordered his son Robert Knox, and Mr. John 
Loveland, merchant of the ship,f to go ashore, and wait on 
him. When they were come before him, he demanded who 
* Trincomalee. t Supercargo. 


they were, and how long they should stay. They told him 
they were Englishmen, and not to stay above twenty or 
thirty days, and desired permission to trade in his majesty's 
port. His answer was that the king was glad to hear 
that the English were come into his country, and had com- 
manded him to assist them as they should desire, and had 
sent a letter to be delivered to none but the captain him- 
self. They were then twelve miles from the seaside, and 
therefore replied, that the captain could not leave his ship 
to come so far ; but if he pleased to go down to the sea- 
side the captain would wait on him to receive the letter ; 
whereupon the dissuava desired them to stay that day, and 
on the morrow he would go with them ; which, rather than 
displease him in so small a matter, they consented to. In 
the evening the dissuava sent a present to the captain of 
cattle and fruits, etc., which, being carried all night by the 
messengers, was delivered to him in the morning, who told 
him withal that his men were coming down with the dis- 
suava, and desired his company on shore against his coming, 
having a letter from the king to deliver into his own hand. 
The captain, mistrusting nothing, came on shore with his 
boat, and, sitting under a tamarind tree, waited for the dis- 
suava. In the meantime, the native soldiers privately 
surrounded him and the seven men he had with him, and, 
seizing them, carried them to meet the dissuava, bearing 
the captain on a hammock on their shoulders. 

The next day the long-boat's crew, not knowing what had 
happened, came on shore to cut down a tree to make cheeks 
for the mainmast, and were made prisoners after the same 
manner, though with more violence, because they were more 
rough with them, and made resistance : yet they were not 
brought to the captain and his company, but quartered in 
another house in the same town. 


The dissuava having thus gotten two boats and eighteen 
men, his next care was to gain the ship ; and to that end, 
telling the captain that he and his men were only detained 
because the king intended to send letters and a present to 
the English nation by him, desired he would send some 
men on board his ship to order her to stay j and because 
the ship was in danger of being fired by the Dutch, if she 
stayed long in the bay, to bring her up the river. The 
captain did not approve of the advice, but did not dare to 
own his dislike ; and so sent his son with the order, but 
with a solemn conjuration to return again, which he 
accordingly did, bringing a letter from the company in the 
ship that they would not obey the captain, nor any other, 
in this matter, but were resolved to stand on their own 
defence. This letter satisfied the dissuava, who thereupon 
gave the captain leave to write for what he would have 
brought him from the ship, pretending that he had not the 
king's order to release them, though it would suddenly come. 

The captain seeing he was held in suspense, and the 
season of the year spending for the ship to proceed on her 
voyage to some place, sent order to Mr. John Burford, the 
chief mate, to take charge of the ship, and set sail to Porta 
Nova, from whence they came, and there to follow the 
agent's order. 

And now began that long and sad captivity they all along 
feared. The ship being gone, the dissuava was called up to 
the king, and they were kept under guards awhile, till a 
special order came from the king to part them, and put one 
in a town, for the conveniency of their maintenance, which 
the king ordered to be at the charge of the country. On 
September 16, 1660, the captain and his son were placed in 
a town called Bonder Cooswat, in the country of Hotcurly,- 
distant from the city of Oandi northward thirty miles, and 


from the rest of the English, a full day's journey. Here 
they had their provisions brought them twice a-day, without 
money, as much as they could eat, and as good as the 
country yielded. The situation of the place was very 
pleasant and commodious ; but that year that part of the 
land was very sickly by agues and fevers, of which many 
died. The captain and his son, after some time, were visited 
with the common distemper, and the captain being also 
loaded with grief for his deplorable condition, languished 
more than three months, and then died, February the 9th, 

Robert Knox, his son, was now left desolate, sick, and in 
captivity, having none to comfort him but God, who is the 
father of the fatherless, and hears the groans of such as are 
in captivity, being alone to enter upon a long scene of 
misery and calamity, oppressed with weakness of body and 
grief of soul, for the loss of his father, and his remediless 
trouble that he was like to endure ; and the first instance 
of it was in the burial of his father : for he sent his black 
boy to the people of the town, to desire their assistance, 
because they understood not their language ; but they sent 
him only a rope, to drag him by the neck into the woods, 
and told him that they would offer him no other help 
unless he would pay for it. This barbarous answer 
increased his trouble for his father's death, that now he was 
like to lie unburied, and be made a prey to the wild beasts 
in the woods ; for the ground was very hard, and they had 
not tools to dig with, and so it was impossible for them to 
bury him ; and having a small matter of money left him 
viz., a pagoda* and a gold ring, he hired a man, and so 
buried him in as decent a manner as their condition would 

* Six shillings in present value. 



His dead father being thus removed out of his sight, but his 
ague continuing, he was reduced very low, partly by sorrow? 
and partly by his disease. All the comfort he had was to 
go into the woods and fields with a book, either the Practice 
of Piety, or Mr. Rogers's Seven Treatises, which were the 
only two books he had, and meditate and read, and some- 
times pray ; in which his anguish made him often invert 
Elijah's petition that he might die, because his life was a 
burthen to him. God, though he was pleased to prolong 
his life, yet he found a way to lighten his grief by removing 
his ague, and granting him a desire, which, above all things, 
was acceptable to him. He had read his two books over so 
often that he had both almost by heart ; and though they 
were both pious and good writings, yet he longed for the 
truth from the original fountain, and thought it his greatest 
unhappiness that he had not a Bible, and did believe that 
he should never see one again ; but, contrary to his expecta- 
tion, God brought him one after this manner. As he was 
fishing one day with his black boy to catch some fish to 
relieve his hunger, an old man passed by them, and asked 
his boy whether his master could read ? and when the boy 
had answered yes, he told him that he had gotten a book 
from the Portuguese, when they left Columbo ; and, if his 
master pleased, he would sell it him. The boy told his 
master, who bade him go and see what book it was. The 
boy having served the English some time knew the book, 
and, as soon as he had got it into his hand, came running 
to him, calling out before he came to him It is the Bible ! 
The words startled him, and he flung down his angle to 
meet him, and, finding it true was mightily rejoiced to see 


it ; but he was afraid he should not have enough to purchase 
it, though he was resolved to part with all the money he 
had, which was but one pagoda, to buy it ; but his black 
boy, persuading him to slight it, and leave it to him to buy 
it, he at length obtained it for a knit cap. 

This accident he could not but look upon as a great 
miracle that God should bestow upon him such an extra- 
ordinary blessing, and bring him a Bible in his own native 
language, in such a remote part of the world, where his 
name was not known, and where it was never heard of that 
an Englishman had ever been before. The enjoyment of 
this mercy was a great comfort to him in captivity ; and 
though he wanted no bodily convenience that the country 
did afford ; for the king, immediately after his father's 
death, had sent an express order to the people of the towns 
that they should be kind to him, and give him good victuals ; 
and, after he had been some time in the country, and 
understood the language, he got him good conveniences, as 
a house and gardens ; and falling to husbandry, God so 
prospered him that he had plenty, not only for himself, but 
to lend others ; which being, according to the custom of the 
country, at fifty per cent, a-year, much enriched him ; he 
had also goats, which served him for mutton, and hogs and 
hens ; notwithstanding this, I say, for he lived as fine as 
any of their noblemen, he could not so far forget his native 
country as to be contented to dwell in a strange land, 
where there was to him a famine of God's word and sacra- 
ments, the want of which made all other things to be of little 
value to him ; therefore, as he made it his daily and fervent 
prayer to God, in his good time, to restore him to both, so, 
at length, he, with one Stephen Rutland, who had lived with 
him two years before, resolved to make their escape, and, 
about the year 1673, meditated all secret ways to compass 


it. They had before taken up a -way of peddling about the 
country, and buying tobacco, pepper, garlic, combs, and all 
sorts of iron ware, and carried them into those parts of the 
country where they wanted them ; and now to promote 
their design, as they went with their commodities from 
place to place, they discoursed with the country people (for 
they could not speak their language well) concerning the 
ways and inhabitants, where the isle was thinnest and fullest 
inhabited, where and how the watches lay from one country 
to another, and what commodities were proper for them to 
carry into all parts j pretending that they would furnish 
themselves with such wares as the respective places wanted. 
None doubted but what they did was upon the account of 
trade, because that he (Mr. Knox) who was so well seated 
could not be supposed to leave such an estate by travelling 
northward, because that part of the land was least inhabited. 
And so furnishing themselves with such wares as were 
vendible in those parts, they set forth, and steered their 
course towards the north part of the islands, knowing very 
little of the ways, which were generally intricate and per- 
plexed, because they have no public roads, but a multitude 
of little paths from one town to another, and those often 
changing ; and for white men to inquire about the ways 
was very dangerous, because the people would presently 
suspect their design. 

At this time they travelled from Canda Uda as far as the 
country of Neurecalava, which is in the farthermost parts of 
the king's dominions, and about three days' journey from 
their dwelling. They were very thankful to Providence 
that they had passed all difficulties so far, but yet durst not 
go any farther, because they had no wares left to traffic 
with ; and it being the first time they had been absent so 
long from home, they feared the townsmen would come 


after them to seek for them ; and so they returned home, 
and went eight or ten times into those parts with their 
wares, till they became well acquainted both with the 
people and the paths. 

In these parts Mr. Knox met his black boy, whom he had 
turned away divers years before. He had now got a wife 
and children, and was very poor ; but being acquainted with 
these quarters, he not only took directions of him, but 
agreed with him, for a good reward, to conduct him and his 
companions to the Dutch. He gladly undertook, and a 
time was appointed between them ; but Mr. Knox, being 
disabled by a grievous pain which seized him on his right 
side, and held him five days, that he could not travel, this 
appointment proved in vain ; for though he went as soon 
as he was well, his guide was gone into another country 
about his business, and they durst not at that time venture 
to run away without him. These attempts took up eight 
or nine years, various accidents hindering their designs, but 
most commonly the dry weather, because they feared in 
the woods they should be starved with thirst, all the coun- 
try being in such a condition almost four or five years 
together for lack of rain. 

On 22nd September 1679 they set forth again, furnished 
with knives and small axes for their defence, because they 
could carry them privately, and send all sorts of wares to 
sell, as formerly, and all necessary provisions, the moon 
being twenty-seven days' old, that they might have light to 
run away by, to try what success God Almighty would now 
give them in seeking their liberty. Their first stage 
was to Anarodgburro,* in the way to which lay a 
wilderness, called Parraoth Mocolane, full of wild 
elephants, tigers, and bears ; and because it is the utmost 
* Anurajapoora. 


confines of the king's dominions, there is always a watch 

In the middle of their way they heard that the governor's 
officers of these parts were out to gather up the king's 
revenues and duties, to send them up to the city, which 
put them into no small fear, lest, finding them, they should 
send them back again ; whereupon they withdrew to the 
western parts of Ecpoulpot, and sat down to knitting, till 
they heard the officers were gone. As soon as they were 
departed, they went onwards of their journey, having got a 
good parcel of cotton yarn to knit caps with, and having 
kept their wares, as they pretended, to exchange for dried 
flesh, which was sold only in those lower parts. Their way 
lay necessarily through the governor's yard at Collinilla, 
who dwells there on purpose to examine all that go and 
come. This greatly distressed them, because he would 
easily suspect they were out of their bounds, being captives ; 
however, they went resolutely to his house, and, meeting 
him, presented him with a small parcel of tobacco and 
betel ; and showing him their wares, told him they came to 
get dried flesh to carry back with them. The governor did 
not suspect them, but told them he was sorry they came in 
so dry a time, when no deer could be catched, but if some 
rain fell he would soon supply them. This answer pleased 
them, and they seemed contented to stay ; and accordingly, 
abiding with him two or three days, and no rain falling, 
they presented the governor with five or six charges of gun- 
powder, which is a rarity among them ; and leaving a 
bundle at his house, they desired him to shoot them some 
deer, while they made a step to Anarodgburro. Here also 
they were put in a great fright, by the coming of certain 
soldiers from the king to the governor, to give him orders 
to set a secure guard at the watches, that no suspicious 


persons might pass ; which, though it was only intended to 
prevent the flight of the relations of certain nobles whom 
the king had clapped up, yet they feared they might wonder 
to see white men here, and so send them back again ; but 
God so ordered it that they were very kind to them, and 
left them to their business, and so they got safe to Anarodg- 
burro. Their pretence was dried flesh, though they knew 
there was none to be had ; but their real business was to 
search the way down to the Dutch, which they stayed three 
days to do; but finding that in the way to Jafnapatam, 
which is one of the Dutch ports, there was a watch which 
could hardly be passed, and other inconveniences not sur- 
mountable, they resolved to go back, and take the river 
Malwatogah,*, which they had before judged would be a 
probable guide to lead them to the sea ; and, that they 
might not be pursued, left Anarodgburro just at night, 
when the people never travel for fear of wild beasts, on 
Sunday, 12th October, being stored with all things needful 
for the journey viz., ten days' provision, a basin to boil 
their provision in, two calabashes to fetch water in, and 
two great tallipat leaves for tents, with jaggory, sweetmeats, 
tobacco, betel, tinder-boxes, and a deer-skin for shoes, to 
keep their feet from thorns, because to them they chiefly 
trusted. Being come to the river, they struck into the 
woods, and kept by the side of it, yet not going on the 
sand (lest their footsteps should be discerned), unless forced, 
and then going backwards. 

Being got a good way into the wood, it began to rain ; 
wherefore they erected their tents, made a fire, and re- 
freshed themselves against the rising of the moon, which 
was then eighteen days' old ; and having tied deer-skins 
about their feet, and eased themselves of their wares, they 
* Malwatta Oya. 


proceeded in their journey. When they had travelled 
three or four hours with difficulty, because the moon gave 
but little light among the thick trees, they found an 
elephant in their way before them, and, because they could 
not scare him away, they were forced to stay till morning ; 
and so they kindled a fire, and took a pipe of tobacco. By 
the light they could not discern that ever anybody had been 
there, nothing being to be seen but woods ; and so they 
were in great hopes that they were past all danger, being 
beyond all inhabitant's ; but they were mistaken, for the 
river winding northward, brought them into the midst of 
a parcel of towns, called Tissea Wava, where, being in 
danger of being seen, they were under a mighty terror ; for, 
had the people found them, they would have beat them, and 
sent them up to the king ; and, to avoid it, they crept into 
a hollow tree, and sat there in mud and wet, till it began 
to grow dark, and then, betaking themselves to their legs, 
travelled till the darkness of night stopped them. They 
heard voices behind them, and feared it was somebody in 
pursuit of them ; but at length, discerning it was only an 
hallooing to keep the wild beasts out of the corn, they 
pitched their tents by the river, and having boiled rice, and 
roasted meat for their suppers, and satisfied their hunger, 
they committed themselves to God's keeping, and laid them 
down to sleep. 

The next morning, to prevent the worst, they got up 
early, and hastened on their journey ; and though they were 
now got out of all danger of the tame Chiangulays, they 
were in great danger of the wild ones, of whom those 
woods were full ; and though they saw their tents, yet they 
were all gone, since the rains had fallen, from the river 
into the woods; and so God kept them from that danger; 
for, had they met the wild men, they had been shot. 



Thus tbey travelled from morning till night several days, 
through bushes and thorns, which made their arms and 
shoulders, which were naked, all of a gore blood. They 
often met with bears, hogs, deer, and wild buffaloes ; but 
they all ran away as soon as they saw them. The river was 
exceeding full of alligators. In the evening they used to 
pitch their tents, and make great fires both before and 
behind them, to affright the wild beasts ; and though they 
heard the voices of all sorts, they saw none. 

On Thursday, at noon, they crossed the river Coronda 
Oya, which parts the country of the Malabars from the 
king's, and on Friday, about nine or ten in the morning, 
came among the inhabitants, of whom they were as much 
afraid as of the Chiangulays before ; for, though the 
Wanniounay, or prince of the people, payeth tribute to the 
Dutch out of fear, yet he is better affected to the king of 
Candi, and, if he had took them, would have sent them up 
to their old master ; but, not knowing any way to escape, 
they kept on their journey by the river-side, by day, 
because the woods are not to be travelled by night, for 
thorns and wild beasts, who come down then to the river to 
drink. In all the Malabar country they met with only two 
Bramans, who treated them civilly ; and for their money, 
one of them conducted them till they came into the 
territories of the Dutch, and out of all danger of the king 
of Candi, which did not a little rejoice them ; but yet they 
were in no small trouble how to find the way out of the 
woods, till a Malabar, for the lucre of a knife, conducted 
them to a Dutch town, where they found guides to conduct 
them from town to town, till they came to the fort called 
Arepa,* where they arrived Saturday, October 18, 1679, 
and there thankfully adored God's wonderful providence 
* Aripo. 


in thus completing their deliverance from a long captivity 
of nineteen years and six months. 

I come now back to my own history, which grows near a 
conclusion, as to the travels I took in this part of the world. 
We were now at sea, and we stood away to the north for a 
while to try if we could get a market for our spices ; for we 
were very rich in nutmegs, but we ill knew what to do with 
them : we durst not go upon the English coast, or, to speak 
more properly, among the English factories, to trade ; not 
that we were afraid to fight any two ships they had ; and 
besides that, we knew, that as they had no letters of marque, 
or of reprisals, from the government, so it was none of their 
business to act offensively, no, not though we were pirates. 
Indeed, if we had made any attempt upon them, they might 
have justified themselves in joining together to resist, and 
assisting one another to defend themselves ; but to go out of 
their business to attack a pirate ship of almost fifty guns, as 
we were, it was plain that it was none of their business, 
and consequently it was none of our concern ; so we did not 
trouble ourselves about it : but, on the other hand, it was 
none of our business to be seen among them, and to have the 
news of us carried from one factory to another, so that what- 
ever design we might be upon at another time, we should be 
sure to be prevented and discovered : much less had we any 
occasion to be seen among the Dutch factories, upon the 
coast of Malabar ; for, being fully loaden with the spices 
which we had, in the sense of their trade, plundered them of, 
it would soon have told them what we were, and all that we 
had been doing; and they would, no doubt, have concerned 
themselves all manner of ways to have fallen upon us. 

The only way we had for it was to stand away for Goa, 
and trade, if we could, for our spices with the Portuguese 


factory there. Accordingly, we sailed almost thither, for we 
had made land two days before, and, being in the latitude of 
Goa, where standing in fair for Marmagoon, on the head of 
Salsat, at the going up to Goa, when I called to the men at 
the helm to bring the ship to, and bid the pilot go away 
N.N.W. till we came out of sight of the shore ; when William 
and I called a council, as we used to do upon emergencies, 
what course we should take to trade there, and not be dis- 
covered ; and we concluded at length, that we would not go 
thither at all ; but that William, with such trusty fellows 
only as could be depended upon, should go in the sloop to 
Surat, which was still farther northward, and trade there as 
merchants, with such of the English factory as they could 
find to be for their turn. 

To carry this with the more caution, and so as not to be 
suspected, we agreed to take out all her guns, and put such 
men into her, and no other, as would promise us not to 
desire or offer to go on shore, or to enter into any talk or 
conversation with any that might come on board ; and, to 
finish the disguise to our mind, William documented two of 
our men, one a surgeon, as he himself was, and the other a 
ready-witted fellow, an old sailor, that had been a pilot 
upon the coast of New England, and was an excellent 
mimic ; these two William dressed up like two quakers, 
and made them talk like such. The old pilot he made go 
captain of the sloop, and the surgeon for doctor, as he was, 
and himself supercargo ; in this figure, and the sloop all 
plain, no carved work upon her (indeed she had not much 
before), and no guns to be seen, away he went for Surat. 

I should, indeed, have observed that we went some days 
before we parted to a small sandy island, close under the 
shore, where there was a good cove of deep water, like a 
road, and out of sight of any of the factories, which are 


here very thick upon the coast. Here we shifted the load- 
ing of the sloop, and put into her such things only as we 
had a mind to dispose of there, which was indeed little but 
nutmegs and cloves, but chiefly the former ; and from 
thence William and his two quakers, with about eighteen 
men in the sloop, went away to Surat, and came to an 
anchor at a distance from the factory. 

William used such caution, that he found means to go on 
shore himself, and the doctor, as he called him, in a boat 
which came on board them to sell fish, rowed with only 
Indians of the country, which boat he afterwards hired to 
carry him on board again. It was not long that they were 
on shore, but that they found means to get acquaintance 
with some Englishmen, who, though they lived there, and 
perhaps were the Company's servants at first, yet appeared 
then to be traders for themselves, in whatever coast- 
business especially came in their way ; and the doctor was 
made the first to pick acquaintance ; so he recommended his 
friend, the supercargo, till, by degrees, the merchants were 
as fond of the bargain as our men were of the merchants, 
only that the cargo was a little too much for them. 

However, this did not prove a difficulty long with them J 
for the next day they brought two more merchants, English 
also, into their bargain ; and, as William could perceive by 
their discourse, they resolved, if they bought them, to carry 
them to the gulf of Persia, upon their own accounts: 
William took the hint, and, as he told me afterwards, con- 
cluded we might carry them there as well as they ; but this 
was not William's present business ; he had here no less 
than three-and-thirty tons of nuts and eighteen tons of 
cloves. There was a good quantity of mace among the 
nutmegs ; but we did not stand to make much allowance ; 
in short, they bargained ; and the merchants, who would 


gladly have bought sloop and all, gave William directions, 
and two men for pilots, to go to a creek about six leagues 
from the factory, where they brought boats, and unloaded 
the whole cargo, and paid William very honestly for it ; 
the whole parcel amounting, in money, to about thirty-five 
thousand pieces of eight, besides some goods of value, which 
William was content to take, and two large diamonds, worth 
about three hundred pounds sterling. 

When they paid the money, William invited them on 
board the sloop, where they came ; and the merry old 
quaker diverted them exceedingly with his talk, and thee'd 
'em and thou'd 'em till he made 'em so drunk that they 
could not go on shore for that night. 

They would fain have known who our people were, and 
whence they came ; but not a man in the sloop would 
answer them to any question they asked, but in such 
manner as let them think themselves bantered and jested 
with. However, in discourse, William said, they were able 
men for any cargo we could have brought them, and that 
they would have bought twice as much spice if we had had 
it. He ordered the merry captain to tell them that they 
had another sloop that lay at Marmagoon, and that had a 
great quantity of spice on board also ; and that, if it was 
not sold when he went back (for that thither he was bound), 
he would bring her up. 

Their new chaps were so eager that they would have 
bargained with the old captain beforehand : Nay, friend, 
said he, I will not trade with thee unsight and unseen ; 
neither do I know whether the master of the sloop may 
not have sold his loading already to some merchants of 
Salsat : but if he has not, when I come to him, I think to 
bring him up to thee. 

The doctor had his employment all this while, as well as 


William and the old captain ; for he went on shore several 
times a day in the Indian boat, and brought fresh provisions 
for the sloop, which the men had need enough of : he 
brought, in particular, seventeen large casks of arrack, as 
big as butts, besides smaller quantities, a quantity of rice, 
and abundance of fruits, mangoes, pompions, and such 
things, with fowls and fish. He never came on board but 
he was deep laden ; for, in short, he bought for the ship as 
well as for themselves ; and particularly, they half loaded 
the ship with rice and arrack, with some hogs, and six or 
seven cows, alive ; and thus, being well victualled, and 
having directions for coming again, they returned to us. 

William was always the lucky welcome messenger to us, 
but never more welcome to us than now ; for where we had 
thrust in the ship we could get nothing, except a few man- 
goes and roots, being not willing to make any steps into the 
country, or make ourselves known, till we had news of our 
sloop ; and, indeed, our men's patience was almost tired ; 
for it was seventeen days that William spent upon this 
enterprise, and well bestowed too. 

When he came back we had another conference upon the 
subject of trade, namely, whether we should send the rest of 
our spices, and other goods we had in the ship, to Surat ; 
or, whether we should go up to the gulf of Persia ourselves, 
where it was probable we might sell them as well as the 
English merchants of Surat. William was for going our- 
selves, which, by-the-way, was from the good, frugal, 
merchant-like temper of the man, who was for the best of 
everything ; but here I overruled William, which I very 
seldom took upon me to do ; but I told him, that, consider- 
ing our circumstances, it was much better for us to sell all 
our cargoes here, though we made but half price of them, 
than to go with them to the gulf of Persia, where we should 


run a greater risk, and where people would be much more 
curious and inquisitive into things than they were here, 
and where it would not be so easy to manage them, seeing 
they traded freely and openly there, not by stealth, as those 
men seemed to do ; and besides, if they suspected anything, 
it would be much more difficult for us to retreat, except by 
mere force, than here, where we were upon the high sea, as 
it were, and could be gone whenever we pleased, without 
any disguise, or indeed without the least appearance of 
being pursued, none knowing where to look for us. 

My apprehensions prevailed with William, whether my 
reasons did or no, and he submitted ; and we resolved to 
try another ship's loading to the same merchants. The 
main business was to consider how to get off of that circum- 
stance that had exposed them to the English merchants 
namely, that it was our other sloop ; but this the old quaker 
pilot undertook ; for being, as I said, an excellent mimic 
himself, it was the easier for him to dress up the sloop in 
new clothes ; and first, he put on all the carved work he 
had taken off before ; her stern, which was painted of a 
dumb white, or dun colour, before all flat, was now all 
lackered, and blue, and I know not how many gay figures 
in it ; as to her quarter, the carpenters made her a neat 
little gallery on either side ; she had twelve guns put into 
her, and some patereroes upon her gunnel, none of which 
were there before ; and to finish her new habit, or appear- 
ance, and make her change complete, he ordered her sails 
to be altered, and as she sailed before with a half-sprit, like 
a yacht, she sailed now with square-sail and mizen-mast, 
like a ketch ; so that, in a word, she was a perfect cheat, 
disguised in everything that a stranger could be supposed 
to take any notice of, that had never had but one view ; for 
they had been but once on board. 


In this mean figure the sloop returned ; she had a new 
man put into her for captain, one we knew how to trust ; 
and the old pilot appearing only as a passenger, the doctor 
and William acting as the supercargoes, by a formal 
procuration from one Captain Singleton, and all things 
ordered in form. 

We had a complete loading for the sloop ; for, besides a 
very great quantity of nutmegs and cloves, mace, and some 
cinnamon, she had on board some goods which we took in 
as we lay about the Philippine islands, while we waited as 
looking for purchase. 

William made no difficulty of selling this cargo also, and 
in about twenty days returned again, freighted with all 
necessary provisions for our voyage, and for a long time ; 
and, as I say, we had a great deal of other goods, he brought 
us back about three-and-thirty thousand pieces of eight, and 
some diamonds, which, though William did not pretend to 
much skill in, yet he made shift to act so as not to be 
imposed upon, the merchants he had to deal with too being 
very fair men. 

They had no difficulty at all with these merchants ; for 
the prospect they had of gain made them not at all inquisi- 
tive ; nor did they make the least discovery of the sloop, 
and as to the selling them spices which were fetched so far 
from thence, it seems it was not so much a novelty there as 
we believed ; for the Portuguese had frequently vessels 
which came from Macao in China, who brought spices, 
which they bought of the Chinese traders, who again 
frequently dealt among the Dutch Spice Islands, and 
received spices in exchange for such goods as they carried 
from China. 

This might be called, indeed, the only trading voyage we 
had made ; and now we were really very rich ; and it came 


now naturally before us to consider whither we should go 
next. Our proper delivery port, as we ought to have called 
it, was at Madagascar, in the bay of Mangahelly ; but 
William took me by myself into the cabin of the sloop one 
day, and told me he wanted to talk seriously with me a 
little ; so we shut ourselves in, and William began with 


WILT thou give me leave, says William, to talk plainly with 
thee upon thy present circumstances, and thy future prospect 
of living ; and wilt thou promise, on thy word, to take 
nothing ill of me ? 

With all my heart, said I, William ; I have always found 
your advice good ; and your designs have not only been well 
laid, but your counsel has been very lucky to us, and, 
therefore, say what you will, I promise you I will not take 
it ill. 

But that is not all my demand, says William ; if thou 
dost not like what I am going to propose to thee, thou shalt 
promise me not to make it public among the men. 

I will not, William, says I, upon my word ; and swore to 
him too very heartily. 

Why then, says William, I have but one thing more to 
article with thee about, and that is that thou wilt consent, 
that, if thou dost not approve of it for thyself, thou wilt yet 
consent that I shall put so much of it in practice as relates 
to myself and my new comrade doctor, so that it be in 
nothing to thy detriment and loss. 

In anything, says I, William, but leaving me, I will ; but 
I cannot part with you upon any terms whatever. 

Well, says William, I am not designing to part from thee, 


unless it is thy own doing ; but assure rue in all these 
points, and I will tell my mind freely. 

So I promised him everything he desired of me in the 
most solemn manner possible, and so seriously and frankly 
withal, that William made no scruple to open his mind to 

Why, then, in the first place, says William, shall I ask 
thee if thou dost not think thou and all thy men are rich 
enough, and have really gotten as much wealth together (by 
\vhatsoever way it has been gotten, that is not the question), 
as ye all know what to do with 1 

Why, truly, William, said I, thou art pretty right ; I 
think we have had pretty good luck. 

Well then, says William, I would ask, whether, if thou 
hast gotten enough, thou hast any thought of leaving off 
this trade ; for most people leave off trading when they are 
satisfied with getting, and are rich enough ; for nobody 
trades for the sake of trading ; much less do any men rob 
for the sake of thieving. 

Well, William, says I, now I perceive what it is thou art 
driving at ; I warrant you, says I, you begin to hanker 
after home. 

Well, truly, says William, thou hast said it, and so I hope 
thou dost too. It is natural for most men that are abroad 
to desire to come home again at last, especially when they 
are grown rich, and when they are (as thou ownest thyself 
to be) rich enough, and so rich, as they know not what to 
do with more, if they had it. 

Well, William, said I, but now you think you have laid 
your preliminary at first so home, that I should have nothing 
to say ; that is, that when I had got money enough, it would 
be natural to think of going home ; but you have not 
explained what you mean by home ; and there you and I 


shall differ. Why, man, I am at home ; here is my habita- 
tion ; I never had any other in my lifetime : I was a kind 
of a charity-school boy ; so that I can have no desire of 
going anywhere for being rich or poor, for I have nowhere 
to go. 

Why, says William, looking a little confused, art not 
thou an Englishman 1 

Yes, says I, I think so ; you see I speak English ; but I 
came out of England a child, and never was in it but once 
since I was a man ; and then I was cheated and imposed 
upon, and used so ill, that I care not if I never see it more. 

Why, hast thou no relations or friends there 1 says he ; 
no acquaintance ? none that thou hast any kindness, or any 
remains of respect for ? 

Not I, William, said I ; not one, more than I have in the 
court of the Great Mogul. 

Nor any kindness for the country where thou wast born 1 
says William. 

Not I, any more than for the island of Madagascar, nor 
so much either ; for that has been a fortunate island to me 
more than once, as thou knowest, William, said I. 

William was quite stunned at my discourse, and held his 
peace ; and I said to him, Go on, William ; what hast thou 
to say farther? for I hear you have some project in your 
head, says I ; come, let's have it out. 

Nay, says William, thou hast put me to silence, and all I 
had to say is overthrown ; all my projects are come to 
nothing, and gone. 

Well, but, William, said I, let me hear what they were ; 
for though it is so that what I have to aim at does not look 
your way, and though I have no relation, no friend, 
no acquaintance in England, yet I do not say I like 
this roving, cruising life so well as never to give it 


over ; let me hear if thou canst propose to me anything 
beyond it. 

Certainly, friend, says William, very gravely, there is 
something beyond it ; and lifting up his hands, he seemed 
very much affected, and I thought I saw tears standing 
in his eyes ; but I, that was too hardened a wretch to 
be moved with these things, laughed at him. What ! says 
I, you mean death, I warrant you ; don't you ? that is 
beyond this trade. Why, when it comes, it comes ; then we 
are all provided for. 

Aye, says William, that is true ; but it would be better 
that some things were thought on before that came. 

Thought on ! says I ; what signifies thinking of it ? To 
think of death is to die ; and to be always thinking of it 
is to be all one's life long a-dying : it is time enough to 
think of it when it comes. 

You will easily believe I was well qualified for a pirate, 
that could talk thus ; but let me leave it upon record, for 
the remark of other hardened rogues like myself. My 
conscience gave me a pang that I had never felt before, 
when I said What signifies thinking of it ? and told me, I 
should one day think of these words with a sad heart ; but 
the time of my reflection was not yet come ; so I went on. 

Says William, very seriously, I must tell thee, friend, 
I am sorry to hear thee talk so : they that never think of 
dying, often die without thinking of it. 

I carried on the jesting way a while farther, and said 
Prithee do not talk of dying ; how do we know we shall 
ever die \ and began to laugh. 

I need not answer thee to that, says William ; it is not 
my place to reprove thee who art commander over me here ; 
but I had rather thou wouldst talk otherwise of death ; it 
is a coarse thing. 


Say anything to me, William, said I, I will take it 
kindly. I began now to be very much moved at his 

Says William (tears running down his face), It is because 
men live as if they were never to die that so many die 
before they know how to live ; but it was not death that I 
meant, when I said, that there was something to be 
thought of beyond this way of living. 

Why, William, said I, what was that ? 

It was repentance, says he. 

Why, says I, did you ever know a pirate repent 1 

At this he started a little, and returned, At the gallows 
I have known one repent, and I hope thou wilt be the 

He spoke this very affectionately, with an appearance of 
concern for me. 

Well, William, says I, I thank you, and I am not so 
senseless of these things, perhaps, as I make myself seem to 
be ; but come, let me hear your proposal. 

My proposal, says William, is for thy good, as well as my 
own. We may put an end to this kind of life, and repent ; 
and I think the fairest occasion offers for both, at this very 
time, that ever did, or ever will, or indeed can happen 

Look you, William, says I, let me have your proposal for 
putting an end to our present way of living first, for that is 
the case before us, and you and I will talk of the other 
afterward. I am not so insensible, said I, as you may 
think me to be ; but let us get out of this hellish condition 
we are in first. 

Nay, says William, thou art in the right there ; we must 
never talk of repenting while we continue pirates. 

Well, says I, William, that it is what I meant ; for if we 


must not reform, as well as be sorry for what is done, I 
have no notion what repentance means : indeed, at best 
I know little of the matter ; but the nature of the thing 
seems to tell me that the first step we have to take 
is to break off this wretched course ; and I'll begin there 
with you, with all my heart. 

I could see by his countenance that William was 
thoroughly pleased with the offer ; and if he had tears in 
his eyes before, he had more now ; but it was from a quite 
different passion ; for he was so swallowed up with joy he 
could not speak. 

Come, William, says I, thou showest me plain enough 
thou hast an honest meaning. Dost thou think it is 
practicable for us to put an end to our unhappy way of 
living here, and get off? 

Yes, says he, I think it is very practicable for me ; 
whether it is for thee or no, that will depend upon thyself. 

Well, says I, I give you my word, that as I have com- 
manded you all along, from the time I first took you on 
board, so you shall command me from this hour, and 
everything you direct me I'll do. 

Wilt thou leave it all to me 1 Dost thou say this freely ? 

Yes, William, says I, freely ; and I'll perform it 

Why then, says William, my scheme is this : We are 
now at the mouth of the gulf of Persia ; we have sold so 
much of our cargo here at Surat that we have money 
enough : send me away for Bassora with the sloop, loaden 
with the China goods we have on board, which will make 
another good cargo, and I'll warrant thee I'll find means, 
among the English and the Dutch merchants there, to lodge a 
quantity of goods and money also as a merchant, so as we 
will be able to have recourse to it again upon any occasion ; 


and when I come home we will contrive the rest ; and in 
the meantime do you bring the ship's crew to take a 
resolution to go to Madagascar, as soon as I return. 

I told him I thought he need not go so far as Bassora, 
but might run into Gombaroon, or to Ormus, and pretend 
the same business. 

No, says he, I cannot act with the same freedom there, 
because the Company's factory are there, and I may be laid 
hold of there, on pretence of interloping. 

"Well, but, said I, you may go to Ormus then ; for I am 
loath to part with you so long as to go to the bottom of the 
Persian Gulf. He returned, that I should leave it to him 
to do as he should see cause. 

We had taken a large sum of money at Surat ; so that 
we had near a hundred thousand pounds in money at our 
command ; but on board the great ship we had still a great 
deal more. 

I ordered him publicly to keep the money on board 
which he had, and to buy up with it a quantity of ammuni- 
tion, if he could get it, and so to furnish us for new exploits ; 
and in the meantime I resolved to get a quantity of gold, 
and some jewels, which I had on board the great ship, and 
place them so that I might carry them off without notice, 
as soon as he came back ; and so, according to William's 
directions, I left him to go the voyage, and I went on board 
the great ship, in which we had indeed an immense treasure. 
We waited no less than two months for William's return ; 
and indeed I began to be very uneasy about William, some- 
times thinking he had abandoned me, and that he might 
have used the same artifice to have engaged the other men 
to comply with him, and so they were gone away together ; 
and it was but three days before his return that I was just 
upon the point of resolving to go away to Madagascar, and 


give him over ; but the old surgeon, who mimicked the 
quaker, and passed for the master of the sloop at Surat, 
persuaded me against that ; for which good advice, and his 
apparent faithfulness in what he had been trusted with, I 
made him a party to my design, arid he proved very honest. 

At length William came back, to our inexpressible joy, 
and brought a great many necessary things with him ; as, 
particularly, he brought sixty barrels of powder, some iron, 
shot, and about thirty tons of lead ; also he brought a great 
deal of provisions ; and, in a word, William gave me a 
public account of his voyage, in the hearing of whoever 
happened to be upon the quarter-deck, that no suspicions 
might be found about us. 

After all was done William moved that he might go up 
again, and that I would go with him ; named several 
things which we had on board that he could not sell there ; 
and particularly told us he had been obliged to leave 
several things there, the caravans not being come in ; and 
that he had engaged to come back again with goods. 

This was what I wanted. The men were eager for his 
going, and particularly because he told them they might 
load the sloop back with rice and provisions ; but I seemed 
backward to going ; when the old surgeon stood up and 
persuaded me to go, and with many arguments pressed me 
to it ; as, particularly, if I did not go, there would be no 
order, and several of the men might drop away, and perhaps 
betray all the rest ; and that they should not think it safe 
for the sloop to go again, if I did not go ; and, to urge me 
to it, he offered himself to go with me. 

Upon these considerations, I seemed to be overpersuaded 
to go ; and all the company seemed the better satisfied when 
1 had consented ; and accordingly we took all the powder, 
lead, and iron out of the sloop into the great ship, and all 



the other things that were for the ship's use, and put in 
some bales of spices, and casks or frails of cloves, in all 
about seven tons, and some other goods, among the bales of 
which I had conveyed all my private treasure, which, I 
assure you, was of no small value ; and away I went. 

At going off I called a council of all the officers in the 
ship, to consider in what place they should wait for me, and 
how long ; and we appointed the ship to stay eight-and- 
twenty days at a little island on the Arabian side of the 
gulf; and that, if the sloop did not come in that time, they 
should sail to another island to the west of that place, and 
wait there fifteen days more ; and then, if the sloop did not 
come, they should conclude some accident must have 
happened, and the rendezvous should be at Madagascar. 

Being thus resolved, we left the ship, which both William 
and I, and the surgeon, never intended to see any more. 
We steered directly for the gulf, and through to Bassora, or 
Balsara. This city of Balsara lies at some distance from 
the place where our sloop lay, and the river not being very 
safe, and we but ill acquainted with it, having but an 
ordinary pilot, we went on shore at a village where some 
merchants live, and which is very populous, for the sake of 
small vessels riding there. 

Here we stayed and traded three or four days, landing all 
our bales and spices, and indeed the whole cargo that was 
of any considerable value ; which we chose to do rather 
than go up immediately to Balsara, till the project we had 
laid was put in execution. 

After we had bought several goods, and were preparing 
to buy several others, the boat being on shore with twelve 
men, myself, William, the surgeon, and one fourth man, 
whom we had singled out, we contrived to send a Turk, just 
at the dusk of the evening, with a letter to tho boatswain ; 


and giving the fellow a charge to run with all possible 
speed, we stood at a small distance to observe the event. 
The contents of the letter were thus written by the old 


We are all betrayed. For God's sake make oft' with the 
boat, and get on board, or you are all lost. The captain, 
William the quaker, and George the reformade, are seized 
and carried away : I am escaped, and hid, but cannot stir 
out ; if I do, I am a dead man. As soon as you are on 
board, cut or slip, and make sail for your lives. Adieu. 

R. S." 

We stood undiscovered, as above, it being the dusk of 
the evening, and saw the Turk deliver the letter; and in 
three minutes we saw all the men hurry into the boat, and 
put off"; and no sooner were they on board than they took 
the hint, as we supposed ; for the next morning they were 
out of sight, and we never heard tale or tidings of them 

We were now in a good place, and in very good 
circumstances ; for we passed for merchants of Persia. 

It is not material to record here what a mass of ill-gotten 
wealth we had got together ; it will be more to the purpose 
to tell you that I began to be sensible of the crime of 
getting of it in such a manner as I had done ; that I had 
very little satisfaction in the possession of it ; and, as I told 
William, I had no expectation of keeping it, nor much 
desire ; but, as I said to him one day walking out into the 
fields near the town of Bassora, so I depended upon it, that 
it would be the case, which you will hear presently. 

We were perfectly secured at Bassora, by having fright,- 


ened away the rogues, our comrades ; and we had nothing 
to do but to consider how to convert our treasure into 
things proper to make us look like merchants, as we were 
now to be, and not like freebooters, as we really had 

"We happened very opportunely here upon a Dutchman, 
who had travelled from Bengal to Agra, the capital 
city of the Great Mogul, and from thence was come 
to the coast of Malabar by land, and got shipping, some 
how or other, up the gulf ; and we found his design was to 
go up the great river to Bagdat or Babylon, aud so, by the 
caravan, to Aleppo and Scanderoon. As William spoke 
Dutch, and was of an agreeable, insinuating behaviour, he 
soon got acquainted with this Dutchman, and, discovering 
our circumstances to one another, we found he had con- 
siderable effects with him ; and that he had traded long in 
that country, and was making homeward to his own 
country ; and that he had servants with him ; one an 
Armenian, whom he had taught to speak Dutch, and who 
had something of his own, but had a mind to travel into 
Europe ; and the other a Dutch sailor, whom he had picked 
up by his fancy, and reposed a great trust in him, and a 
very honest fellow he was. 

This Dutchman was very glad of an acquaintance, because 
he soon found that we directed our thoughts to Europe 
also ; and as he found we were encumbered with goods only 
(for we let him know nothing of our money), he readily 
offered us his assistance to dispose of as many of them as 
the place we were in would put off, and his advice what to 
do with the rest. 

While this was doing, William and I consulted what to 
do with ourselves and what we had ; and, first, we resolved 
we would never talk seriously of any of our measures but 


in the open fields, where we were sure nobody could hear; 
so every evening, when the sun began to decline, and the 
air to be moderate, we walked out, sometimes this way, 
sometimes that, to consult of our affairs. 

I should have observed that we had new clothed our- 
selves here after the Persian manner, in long vests of silk, 
a gown or robe of English crimson cloth, very fine and 
handsome, and let our beards grow so after the Persian 
manner that we passed for Persian merchants, in view 
only, though, by the way, we could not understand or 
speak one word of the language of Persia, or indeed of 
any other but English and Dutch ; and of the latter I 
understood very little. 

However, the Dutchman supplied all this for us ; and 
as we had resolved to keep ourselves as retired as we could, 
though there were several English merchants upon the 
place, yet we never acquainted ourselves with one of them, 
or exchanged a word with them ; by which means we pre- 
vented their inquiry of us now, or their giving any intel- 
ligence of us, if any news of our landing here should 
happen to come, which, it was easy for us to know, was 
possible enough, if any of our comrades fell into bad hands, 
or by many accidents which we could not foresee. 

It was during my being here, for here we stayed near 
two months, that I grew very thoughtful about my circum- 
stances ; not as to the danger, neither indeed were we in 
any, but were entirely concealed and unsuspected ; but I 
really began to have other thoughts of myself, and of the 
world, than ever I had before. 

William had struck so deep into my unthinking temper, 
with hinting to me that there was something beyond all 
this ; that the present time was the time of enjoyment, but 
that the time of account approached ; that the work that 


remained was gentler than the labour past viz., repentance, 
and that it was high time to t '^\ of it: I say these, and 
such thoughts as these, engross u . ly hours, and, in a word, 
I grew very sad. 

As to the wealth I had, which was immensely great, it 
was all like dirt under my feet ; I had no value for it, no 
peace in the possession of it, no great concern about me for 
the leaving of it. 

William had perceived my thoughts to be troubled, and 
my mind heavy and oppressed for some time; and one 
evening, in one of our cool walks, I began with him about 
the leaving our effects. William was a wise and wary 
man; and indeed all the prudentials of my conduct had for 
a long time been owing to his advice, and so now all the 
methods for preserving our effects, and even ourselves, lay 
upon him ; and he had been telling me of some of the 
measures he had been taking for our making homeward, 
and for the security of our wealth, when I took him very 
short. Why, William, says I, dost thou think we shall 
ever be able to reach Europe with all this cargo that we 
have about us ? 

Aye, says William, without doubt, as well as other 
merchants with theirs, as long as it is not publicly known 
what quantity, or of what value our cargo consists. 

Why, William, says I, smiling, do you think that, if 
there is a God above, as you have so long been telling me 
there is, and that we must give an account to him ; I say, 
do you think, if He be a righteous judge, he will let us 
escape thus with the plunder, as we may call it, of so many 
innocent people, nay, I might say nations, and not call us 
to an account for it before we can get to Europe, where we 
pretend to enjoy it 1 

William appeared struck and surprised at the question, 


and made no answer for a great while ; and I repeated the 
question, adding that it was not to be expected. 

After a little pause, says William, Thou hast started a 
very weighty question, and I can make no positive answer 
to it ; but I will state it thus : first, it is time that, if we 
consider the justice of God, we have no reason to expect 
any protection ; but as the ordinary ways of Providence are 
out of the common road of human affairs, so we may hope 
for mercy still upon our repentance, and we know not how- 
good he may be to us ; so we are to act as if we rather 
depended upon the last, I mean the merciful part, than 
claimed the first, which must produce nothing but judgment 
and vengeance. 

But hark ye, William, says I, the nature of repentance, 
as you hinted once to me, included reformation ; and we 
can never reform ; how then can we repent 1 

Why can we never reform 1 says William. 

Because, said I, we cannot restore what we have taken 
away by rapine and spoil. 

It is true, says William, we can never do that ; for we 
can never come to the knowledge of the owners. 

But what then must be done with our wealth, said T, 
the effects of plunder and rapine 1 If we keep it we con- 
tinue to be robbers and thieves ; and if we quit it we 
cannot do justice with it, for we cannot restore it to the 
right owners. 

Nay, says William, the answer to it is short. To quit 
what we have, and do it here, is to throw it away to those 
who have no claim to it, and to divest ourselves of it 
but to do no right with it ; whereas we ought to keep it 
carefully together, with a resolution to do what right with 
it we are able ; and who knows what opportunity Provi- 
dence may put into our hands, to do justice, at least, to 


some of those we have injured ; so we ought, at least, to 
leave it to him, and go on. As it is, without doubt, our 
present business is to go to some place of safety, where we 
may wait his will. 

This resolution of William was very satisfying to me 
indeed, as, the truth is, all he said, and at all times, was 
solid and good ; and had not William thus, as it were, 
quieted my mind, I think verily, I was so alarmed at the 
just reason I had to expect vengeance from Heaven upon 
me for my ill-gotten wealth, that I should have run away 
from it as the devil's goods, that I had nothing to do with, 
that did not belong to me, and that I had no right to keep, 
and was in certain danger of being destroyed for. 

However, William settled my mind to more prudent steps 
than these, and I concluded that I ought, however, to 
proceed to a place of safety, and leave the event to God 
Almighty's mercy ; but this I must leave upon record, that 
I had, from this time, no joy of the wealth I had got ; I 
looked upon it as stolen, and so indeed the greatest part of 
it was ; I looked upon it as a hoard of other men's goods, 
which I had robbed the innocent owners of, and which I 
ought, in a word, to be hanged for here, and damned for 
hereafter; and now, indeed, I began sincerely to hate 
myself for a dog ; a wretch, that had been a thief, and- a 
murderer ; a wretch, that was in a condition which nobody 
was ever in ; for I had robbed, and though I had the wealth 
by me, yet it was impossible I should ever make any 
restitution ; and upon this account it ran in my head that 
I could never repent, for that repentance could not be 
sincere without restitution, and therefore must of necessity 
be damned ; there was no room for me to escape ; I went 
about with my heart full of these thoughts, little better 
than a distracted fellow ; in short, running headlong into 


the most dreadful despair, and premeditating nothing but 
how to rid myself out of the world ; and, indeed, the devil, 
if such things are of the devil's immediate doing, followed 
his work very close with me ; and nothing lay upon my 
mind for several days, but to shoot myself into the head 
with my pistol. 


I WAS all this while in a vagrant life, among infidels, Turks, 
pagans, and such sort of people ; I had no minister, no 
Christian to converse with, but poor William ; he was my 
ghostly father, or confessor; and he was all the comfort I 
had. As for my knowledge of religion, you have heard my 
history ; you may suppose I had not much ; and, as for the 
word of God, I don't remember that I ever read a chapter 
in the Bible in my lifetime ; I was little Bob at Busselton, 
and went to school to learn my Testament. 

However, it pleased God to make William the quaker 
everything to me. Upon this occasion I took him out one 
evening, as usual, and hurried him away into the fields with 
me, in more haste than ordinary ; and there, in short, I told 
him the perplexity of my mind, and under what terrible 
temptations of the devil I had been ; that I must shoot 
myself, for I could not support the weight and terror that 
was "upon me. 

Shoot yourself ! says William ; why, what will that do 
for you ? 

Why, says I, it will put an end to a miserable life. 

Well, says William, are you satisfied the next will be 
better ? 

No, no, says I, much worse, to be sure. 

Why, then, says he, shooting yourself is the devil's 


motion, no doubt j for it is the devil of a reason, that, because 
thou art in an ill case, therefore thou must put thyself into 
a worse. 

This shocked my reason indeed. Well, but, says I, there 
is no bearing the miserable condition I am in. 

Very well, says William ; but it seems there is some 
bearing a worse condition ; and so you will shoot yourself, 
that you may be past remedy ? 

I am past remedy already, says I. 

How do you know that ? says he. 

I am satisfied of it, said I. 

Well, says he, but you are not sure ; so you will shoot 
yourself to make it certain ; for, though on this side death, 
you cannot be sure you will be damned at all, yet the 
moment you step on the other side of time you are sure of 
it ; for when it is done, it is not to be said then that you 
will be, but that you are damned. 

Well, but, says William, as if he had been between jest 
and earnest, pray what didst thou dream of last night ? 

Why, said I, I had frightful dreams all night : and, par- 
ticularly, I dreamed that the devil came for me, and asked 
me what my name was t and I told him. Then he asked 
me what trade I was 1 Trade ! says I ; I am a thief, a 
rogue, by my calling ; I am a pirate and a murderer, and 
ought to be hanged. Aye, aye, says the devil, so you do ; 
and you are the man I looked for, and therefore come along 
with me; at which I was most horribly frightened, and 
cried out, so that it waked me ; and I have been in horrible 
agony ever since. 

Very well, says William ; come, give me the pistol thou 
talkedst of just now. 

Why, says I, what will you do with it ? 

Do with it ! says William ; why, thou needest not shoot 


thyself; I shall be obliged to do it for thee. Why, thou 
wilt destroy us all. 

What do you mean, William ? said I. 

Mean ! said he ; nay, what didst thou mean, to cry out 
aloud in thy sleep, I am a thief, a pirate, a murderer, and 
ought to be hanged 1 Why, thou wilt ruin us all ; 'twas 
well the Dutchman did not understand English. In short, 
I must shoot thee to save my own life : come, come, says 
he, give me thy pistol. 

I confess this terrified me again another way ; and I 
began to be sensible, that, if anybody had been near me 
to understand English, I had been undone. The thought 
of shooting myself forsook me from that time ; and I 
turned to William. You disorder me extremely, William, 
said I ; why, I am never safe, nor is it safe to keep me 
company. What shall I do 1 I shall betray you all. 

Come, come, friend Bob, says he, I'll put an end to it all, 
if you will take my advice. 

How's that? said I. 

Why, only, says he, that the next time thou talkest with 
the devil, thou wilt talk a little softlier, or we shall all be 
undone, and you too. 

This frightened me, I must confess, and allayed a great 
deal of the trouble of mind I was in ; but William, after he 
had done jesting with me, entered upon a very long and 
serious discourse with me about the nature of my circum- 
stances, and about repentance ; that it ought to be attended, 
indeed, with a deep abhorrence of the crime that I had to 
charge myself with ; but that to despair of God's mercy was 
no part of repentance, but putting myself into the condition 
of the devil; indeed, that I must apply myself with a 
sincere humble confession of my crime, to ask pardon of 
God, whom I had offended, and cast myself upon his mercy, 


resolving to be willing to make restitution, if ever it should 
please God to put it in my power, even to the utmost of 
what I had in the world ; and this, he told me, was the 
method which he had resolved upon himself ; and in this, 
he told me, he had found comfort. 

I had a great deal of satisfaction in William's discourse, 
and it quieted me very much ; but William was very 
anxious ever after about my talking in my sleep, and took 
care to lie with me always himself, and to keep me from 
lodging in any house where so much as a word of English 
was understood. 

However, there was not the like occasion afterward ; for 
I was much more composed in my mind, and resolved, for 
the future, to live a quite different life from what I had 
done. As to the wealth I had, I looked upon it as nothing ; 
I resolved to set it apart to any such opportunity of doing 
justice as God should put into my hand ; and the miracu- 
lous opportunity I bad afterwards of applying some 
parts of it to preserve a ruined family, whom I had 
plundered, may be worth reading, if I have room for it in 
this account. 

With these resolutions, I began to be restored to some 
degree of quiet in my mind ; and having, after almost three 
months' stay at Bassora, disposed of some goods ; but, 
having a great quantity left, we hired boats, according to 
the Dutchman's direction, and went up to Bagdat, or 
Babylon, on the river Tigris, or rather Euphrates. We 
had a very considerable cargo of goods with us, and there- 
fore made a great figure there, and were received with 
respect : we had, in particular, two-and-forty bales of Indian 
stuffs of sundry sorts, silks, muslins, and fine chintz : we 
had fifteen bales of very fine China silks, and seventy packs, 
or bales, of spices, particularly cloves and nutmegs, with 


other goods : we were bid money here for our cloves ; but 
the Dutchman advised us not to part with them, and told 
us we should get a better price at Aleppo, or in the Levant ; 
so we prepared for the caravan. 

We concealed our having any gold, or pearls, as much as 
we could, and therefore sold three or four bales of China 
silks and Indian calicoes, to raise money to buy camels, 
and to pay the customs which are taken at several places, 
and for our provisions over the desert. 

I travelled this journey, careless to the last degree of my 
goods or wealth, believing, that, as I came by it all by 
rapine and violence, God would direct that it should be 
taken from me again in the same manner ; and, indeed, I 
think I might say, I was very willing it should be so ; but, 
as I had a merciful protector above me, so I had a most 
faithful steward, counsellor, partner, or whatever I might 
call him, who was my guide, my pilot, my governor, my 
everything, and took care both of me, and of all we had ; and 
though he had never been in any of these parts of the 
world, yet he took the care of all upon him ; and in about 
nine-and-fifty days we arrived from Bassora, at the mouth 
of the river Tigris, or Euphrates, through the desert, 
and through Aleppo, to Alexandria, or, as we call it, 
Scanderoon, in the Levant. 

Here William and I, and the other two, our faithful com- 
rades, debated what we should do; and here William and 
I resolved to separate from the other two, they resolving to 
go with the Dutchman into Holland, by the means of some 
Dutch ship which lay then in the road. William and I 
told them we resolved to go and settle in the Morea, which 
then belonged to the Venetiu^. 

It is true we acted \\Isely in it, L;:' to let them know 
whither we went, seeing we had resolved to separate; but 


we took our old doctor's directions how to write to him iu 
Holland, and in England, that we might have intelligence 
from him on occasion, and promised to give him an account 
how to write to us, which we afterwards did, as may in 
time be made out. 

We stayed here some time after they were gone, till at 
length, not being thoroughly resolved whither to go till 
then, a Venetian ship touched at Cyprus, and put in at 
Scanderoon to look for freight home. We took the hint, 
and, bargaining for our passage, and the freight of our 
goods, we embarked for Venice, where, in two-and-twenty 
days, we arrived safe with all our treasure, and with such a 
cargo, take our goods and our money, and our jewels 
together, as, I believed, was never brought into the 
city by two single men since the state of Venice had a 

We kept ourselves here incognito for a great while, 
passing for two Armenian merchants still, as we had done 
before ; and by this time we had gotten so much of the 
Persian and Armenian jargon, which they talked at Bassora 
and Bagdat, and everywhere that we came in the country, 
as was sufficient to make us able to talk to one another, so 
as not to be understood by anybody, though sometimes 
hardly by ourselves. 

Here we converted all our effects into money, settled our 
abode as for a considerable time, and William and I, main- 
taining an inviolable friendship and fidelity to one another, 
lived like two brothers ; we neither had or sought any 
separate interest ; we conversed seriously and gravely, and 
upon the subject of our repentance continually ; we never 
changed, that is to say, so as to leave off our Armenian 
garbs ; and we were called, at Venice, the two Grecians. 

1 had been two or three times going to give a, detail of 


our wealth ; but it will appear incredible ; and we had the 
greatest difficulty in the world how to conceal it, being 
justly apprehensive lest we might be assassinated in that 
country for our treasure. At length William told me, he 
began to think now that he must never see England any 
more, and that indeed he did not much concern himself 
about it ; but seeing we had gained so great wealth, and 
having some poor relations in England, he said he would, if 
I was willing, write to know if they were living, and to 
know what condition they were in ; and if he found such of 
them were alive as he had some thoughts about, he would, 
with my consent, send them something to better their 

I consented most willingly ; and accordingly William 
wrote to a sister and an uncle, and in about five weeks' 
time received an answer from them both, directed to him- 
self, under cover of a hard Armenian name that he had 
given himself viz., Seignior Constantino Alexion of 
Ispahan, at Venice. 

It was a very moving letter he received from his sister, 
who, after the most passionate expressions of joy to hear he 
was alive, seeing she had long ago had an account that he 
was murdered by the pirates in the West Indies, entreats 
him to let her know what circumstances he was in ; tells 
him she was not in any capacity to do anything considerable 
for him, but that he should be welcome to her with all her 
heart ; that she was left a widow, with four children, but 
kept a little shop in the Minories, by which she made shift 
to maintain her family ; and that she had sent him five 
pounds, lest he should want money, in a strange country, 
to bring him home. 

I could see the letter brought tears out of his eyes, as ho 
read it ; and indeed, when he showed it me, and the little 


bill for five pounds, upon an English merchant in Venice, it 
brought tears out of my eyes too. 

After we had been both affected sufficiently with the 
tenderness and kindness of this letter, he turns to me ; says 
he, What shall I do for this poor woman? I mused awhile ; 
at last, says I, I will tell you what you shall do for her : 
she has sent you five pounds, and she has four children, and 
herself, that is five : such a sum, from a poor woman in 
her circumstances, is as much as five thousand pounds is to 
us : you shall send her a bill of exchange for five thousand 
pounds English money, and bid her conceal her surprise at 
it till she hears from you again ; but bid her leave oft' her 
shop, and go and take a house somewhere in the country, 
not far off from London, and stay there, in a moderate 
figure, till she hears from you again. 

Now, says William, I perceive by it that you have some 
thoughts of venturing into England. 

Indeed, William, said I, you mistake me ; but it presently 
occurred to me that you should venture ; for what have 
you done that you may not be seen there ? Why should I 
desire to keep you from your relations, purely to keep me 
company \ 

William looked very affectionately upon me : Nay, says 
he, we have embarked together so long, and come together 
so far, I am resolved I will never part with thee as long as 
I live, go where thou wilt, or stay where thou wilt ; and as 
for my sister, said William, I cannot send her such a sum 
of money; for whose is all this money we have? It is 
most of it thine. 

No, William, said I, there is not a penny of it mine but 
what is yours too ; and I won't have anything but an equal 
share with you; and therefore you shall send it to her; if 
txot, 1 will send it. 


Why, says William, it will make the poor woman 
distracted ; she will be so surprised, she will go out of her 
wits. Well, said I, William, you may do it prudently ; 
send her a bill backed of a hundred pounds, and bid her 
expect more in a post or two, and that you will send her 
enough to live on without keeping shop ; and then send 
her more. 

Accordingly William sent her a very kind letter, with a 
bill upon a merchant in London for a hundred and sixty 
pounds, and bid her comfort herself with the hope that he 
should be able in a little time to send her more. About ten 
days after he sent her another bill of five hundred and 
forty pounds ; and a post or two after, another for three 
hundred pounds, making in all a thousand pounds ; and 
told her he would send her sufficient to enable her to leave 
off her shop, and directed her to take a house as above. 

He waited then till he received an answer to all the 
three letters, with an account that she had received the 
money, and, which I did not expect, that she had not let 
any other acquaintance know that she had received a 
shilling from anybody, or so much as that he was alive, and 
would not, till she heard again. 

When he showed me this letter, Well, William, said I, 
this woman is fit to be trusted with life or anything : send 
her the rest of the five thousand pounds ; and I'll venture 
to England with you, to this woman's house, whenever 
you will. 

In a word, we sent her five thousand pounds in good 
bills ; and she received them very punctually, and in a 
time sent her brother word that she had pretended to her 
uncle that she was sickly, and could not carry on the trade 
any longer ; and that she had taken a large house about 
four miles from London, under pretence of letting lodgings 



for her livelihood ; and, in short, intimated as if she under- 
stood that he intended to come over to be incognito, 
assuring him he should be as retired as he pleased. 

This was opening the very door for us that we thought 
had been effectually shut for this life ; and, in a word, we 
resolved to venture, but to keep ourselves entirely concealed, 
both as to name and every other circumstance ; and 
accordingly William sent his sister word, how kindly he 
took her prudent steps, and that she had guessed right, 
that he desired to be retired, and that he obliged her not 
to increase her figure, but live private, till she might 
perhaps see him. 

He was going to send the letter away. Come, William, 
said I, you sha'n't send her an empty letter : tell her you 
have a friend coming with you, that must be as retired as 
yourself ; and I'll send her five thousand pounds more. 

So, in short, we made this poor woman's family rich ; and 
yet, when it came to the point, my heart failed me, and I 
durst not venture ; and for William, he would not stir 
without me ; and so we stayed about two years after this, 
considering what we should do. 

You may think, perhaps, that I was very prodigal of my 
ill-gotten goods, thus to load a stranger with my bounty, 
and give a gift like a prince to one that had been able to 
merit nothing of me, or indeed know me ; but my condition 
ought to be considered in this case : though I had money to 
profusion, yet I was perfectly destitute of a friend in the 
world, to have the least obligation or assistance from, or 
knew not either where to dispose or trust anything I had 
while I lived, or whom to give it to if I died. 

When I had reflected upon the manner of my getting of 
it, I was sometimes for giving it all to charitable uses, as a 
debt due to mankind, though I was a Roman Catholic, and 


not at all of the opinion that it would purchase me any 
repose to my soul ; but I thought, as it was got by a 
general plunder, and which I could make no satisfaction 
for, it was due to the community, and I ought to distribute 
it for the general good. But still I was at a loss how, and 
where, and by whom, to settle this charity, not daring to go 
home to my own country, lest some of my comrades, strolled 
home, should see and detect me, and, for the very spoil of 
my money, or the purchase of his own pardon, betray and 
expose me to an untimely end. 

Being thus destitute, I say, of a friend, I pitched thus 
upon William's sister ; the kind step of hers to her brother, 
whom she thought to be in distress, signifying a generous 
mind, and a charitable disposition ; and, having resolved to 
make her the object of my first bounty, I did not doubt but 
I should purchase something of a refuge for myself, and a 
kind of a centre to which I should tend in my future 
actions; for really a man that has a subsistence, and no 
residence, no place that has a magnetic influence upon his 
affections, is in one of the most odd, uneasy conditions in 
the world ; nor is it in the power of all his money to make 
it up to him. 

It was, as I told you, two years and upwards that we 
remained at Venice, and thereabout, in the greatest hesi- 
tation imaginable, irresolute and unfixed to the last degree. 
William's sister importuned us daily to come to England, 
and wondered we should not dare to trust her, whom we 
had to such a degree obliged to be faithful ; and, in a 
manner, lamented her being suspected by us. 

At last I began to incline ; and I said to William, Come, 
brother William, said I (for, ever since our discourse at Bal- 
sora, I called him brother), if you will agree to two or three 
things with me, I'll go home to England with all my heart. 


Says "William, Let me know what they are. 

Why, first, says I, you shall not disclose yourself to any 
of your relations in England but your sister, no, not to one. 

Secondly, We will not shave off our moustaches or beards 
(for we had all along worn our beards after the Grecian 
manner), nor leave off our long vests, that we may pass for 
Grecians and foreigners. 

Thirdly, That we shall never speak English in public 
before anybody, your sister excepted. 

Fourthly, That we will always live together, and for 

William said he would agree to them all with all his 
heart; but that the not speaking English would be the 
hardest ; but he would do his best for that too : so, in a 
word, we agreed to go from Venice to Naples, where we 
converted a large sum of money into bales of silk, left a 
large sum in a merchant's hands at Venice, and another 
considerable sum at Naples, and took bills of exchange for 
a great deal too ; and yet we came with such a cargo to 
London as few Armenian merchants had done for some 
years ; for we loaded in two ships seventy-three bales of 
thrown silk, besides thirteen bales of wrought silks, from the 
dutchy of Milan, shipped at Genoa ; with all which I 
arrived safely, and some time after married my faithful 
protectress, William's sister, with whom I am much more 
happy than I deserve. 

And now, having so plainly told you that I am come to 
England, after I have so boldly owned what life I have led 
abroad, it is time to leave off and say no more for the pre- 
sent, lest some should be willing to inquire too nicely after 
your old friend, CAPTAIN BOB. 

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